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Give more than you take

Gustav Juul

Gustav Juul

Principal Partner

Adizes Institute

There is in my opinion a few universal truths that, if you will accept, embrace, and employ them, your life will be easier. This is one of them: When you give, you receive! Give more attention than you demand. Give more love than you crave. Make whatever surrounds you just a tiny little bit better every day. It’s in the giving we receive.


I was fortunate enough to have Father Johannes Møllehave a famous danish author as my religion teacher. He passed away this passed 10th of May. I didn’t pay much attention to him in school, but he became influential to me later in life. I will share some of his quotes through this article in his honor.

I do not think so much about Paradise. The only thing I hope is that there is a library, because I can not do without it. (Johannes Møllehave)

Are you storing up treasures in Heaven or on Earth? Many people hate this topic. “Oh no here comes another one talking about giving more money again.” When it’s time to give does your heart buckle up or are you giving cheerfully? People know when you give with love. They know when your heart is in it. It’s not about how big or how much. It’s about your heart.
I can honestly say that the greatest things I’ve ever received in my life were priceless gifts from people who could not afford to give more, so I decide a long time ago that when it comes to giving to certain people, like the poor, not to make excuses such as, “they’re just making a living out of begging.”. Sometimes that is true but that doesn’t make it true for everyone. I give with the heart.

I learned from my favorite teacher at school that the first reaction is always wrong. And I was completely embarrassed because I’ve had a lot of first reactions. We all have that. (Johannes Møllehave)

Giving your time

For many of us it’s so easy to give material things. It’s so easy to give money. All that you have to do is go inside your pocket and hand it to people. It’s one thing to give money, but it’s another thing to give time. I’ll be honest. I’ve struggled in this area. Time is priceless. Some people could care less about money. They just want to spend time with you.
We are always busy doing the next thing that we neglect those who God has put in our lives. We neglect the man who wants to be heard for 15 minutes. We neglect the woman who needs to hear the gospel. We are always in a rush to do things that benefit us.
Love thinks about others. We should volunteer more, listen more, witness more, help out our closest friends more, help those who can’t help themselves more, spend time with our families more, and spend time with God more. Giving time humbles us. It allows us to see the beauty of how blessed that we are.

A giver’s heart

I think that I have a giver’s heart and that my world has expand with opportunities for growth on all levels, as I genuinely seek to give to and improve the world around me. The odd thing is, it seems every time I make a good deed, I feel like I was the one who was blessed. In the process of giving to others, the very process itself nurtures something deep in my soul and makes me more complete person.
“There is always someone calling and the important thing is that you come when called.” (Johannes Møllehave)

If you are a husband or a wife you know that to more you put into the relationship, the more you get out of it. If you are a farmer or gardener, you also know this foundational truth. The more you nurture your plants, the more fruit or harvest they will produce. I think all of us know, or know of, some crazy old man who talks to his fruit trees while watering and pruning them every day. Yet, that same crazy old man always has the best tasting apples in the neighborhood. You see, he’s not “crazy” after all. He genuinely cares for those trees and they reward him and his neighborhood with the joy of biting into a juicy treat in fall.
As you pay more attention to the people around you by being honestly interested in their lives and attentively listening to them when they talk to you, they will reward you by giving the same back to you. As you genuinely love and care for others, they will be more loving in return.
It is what happens along the way that is the meaning of life. Life is not about being blessed or winning or reaching a certain goal. The gift to us is that we live. The task is to live every day. (…) We must be on our way. (Johannes Møllehave)

Let me tell you a story. When I had my first child I thought that I could never love another person that much. This was one of the reasons why having a second child really wasn’t really attractive to me. My heart seemed full, complete and that there therefore was not “room” for one more. How wrong I was! The saying that love is infinite is so true. When my son was born my love for my daughter did not diminish one bit, my heart expanded to include this little new life.
On the other hand let me be up front with you, though, it’s not a formulaic system that works with all people all the time. There are people in this world who are not of the same mindset and will only take what you give and demand more. Wherever possible, prune those people from your life. It will also not work if you try to manipulate the system. If you are giving in order to manipulate people into giving back to you, you are often going to be disappointed.
Do not be so afraid to say and do the wrong thing, for then you will never do the right thing. (Johannes Møllehave)

Regardless of what other people do, adopt the mindset of giving, nurturing and adding value to the lives of those around you. The results, though often not immediate or what you might expect, will eventually come as you develop your giving skills. Be that “crasy” old man who talks to, waters, fertilizes, and prunes the people and situations in your life. You will, in time, be rewarded with a beautiful life.

Faith applied to business

What is true in your personal life is also true in business. I recognize myself in that “crazy” old man when I am with my clients. I try to give more that I receive and somehow get more back in the end. It might not always be money, it might be helping a company become greater, overcome a problem or avoid getting into trouble, but it makes me feel good.
The reward, is not for the transaction of money for services to be completed, the reward is also not feeling that you “won” for getting more services than you paid for or got paid more than the service really was worth. The real reward is the happiness that comes out of both winning, when the service that I deliver produces results, that extraordinary apple.
If you say that there are no connections between people, that they sail past each other like ships, wave the flag and are gone, then you do not know. For where we love, there we intervene deeply in each other’s lives. (Johannes Møllehave)
My business is organizational transformation and through that change management. We help young companies get a better structure to be able to keep growing. We also help older companies that have fallen into complacency, reinvent themselves. Sometimes we do complete restructures, sometimes we help companies in a generational transition and sometimes it is just one project or department we help. We guide and we always give more than we take.

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