Originally published on Medium.
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“Eat your own dog food” is, of course, wise advice for any entrepreneur — for anyone selling anything. But what if the eating is trickier than occasionally closing your eyes, pinching your nose and swallowing quickly? What if you have to build a habit too?
I started wondering about this puzzle, finding Pavlov’s proverbial bell, after reading an article on how Adam Rifkin, the world’s top relationship builder, makes introductions.
Adam’s principle 1: Make introductions every day.
“An introduction is the most powerful daily action you can take to build [a network]. In just a few minutes, you can have a dramatic impact on the lives of two people and generate a large amount of goodwill for yourself and the overall community you’re building.”
A problem with the net present value of pleasure
Inspired, I added to my task list one daily introduction.Adam does 3, though no more than 3. (I intend to work my way up.) I agree passionately with the argument about introductions being potent vectors of generosity. I co-founded Intros to help people unlock the value of their networks by making more, and more powerful, introductions. I believe the world would be a better place if more people made more generous introductions.
But even one daily intro is hard work. It takes time and imagination. And while I love the idea of my intros helping others eventually — the “dramatic impact” downstream Adam mentions — I quickly found the promise of future (uncertain) gratification, discounted to today, sometimes loses its motivational punch.
So I tried, instead, a shameless appeal to my ego and its impatient desire to feel like a good person, now.
Into a new task list, “Highly helpful”, went my daily intros, imbuing each with the immediate, intravenous pleasure of making an intro, irrespective of its outcome.