« We’ve known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for counsel or for help. I can’t remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let’s be frank here. You never wanted my friendship. And, uh, you were afraid to be in my debt. »

« I didn’t want to get into trouble. »

«  I understand. You found paradise in America, you had a good trade, you made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. You didn’t need a friend like me. But, now you come to me, and you say: “Don Corleone, give me justice.” But you don’t ask with respect. You don’t offer friendship. You don’t even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you ask me to do murder for money. »

« Let them suffer then, as she suffers. How much shall I pay you? »

« Bonasera, Bonasera. What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you’d come to me in friendship, then that scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you. »

« Be my friend… Godfather. »

« Good. Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day. »

What ”The Godfather” Movie Taught Me About Life

This is the introduction scene of the cult movie ”The Godfather”. In that scene, Bonasera asks for the Godfather’s help to kill the guys that beat her daughter up.

However, the Godfather is not happy, and explains how egotistical it is to appear before him and ask him for a favor when the other guy actually never showed any interest in him. Yet, he finally agrees to help him as he makes him understand that he’s doing him a favor : meaning that one day, he might ask for something in return.

I love that scene, as it shows how takers are perceived in our society : selfish people who ask for help without never trying to add value beforehand. On the other hand, it contrasts with givers : those are the people that The Godfather wants to do business with. They are the people like him, who do someone a favor without asking for anything back.

It’s only after you (genuinely) helped someone that you can hope to receive something from them one day.

People are often so focused on themselves, that they don’t see the value in helping others. However, helping others is the surest way to be helped.

Why would people do you a favor if you don’t ? The fact of the matter is that people are repeled by takers, but they love givers. After all, why wouldn’t you spend time with somebody always ready to help you ?

It’s all about getting out of YOUR head, and YOUR problems, and helping the people who might need it.

It’s only when people will realize that you’ll be there for them, that they’ll be there for you. Whether it be in business or in relationships, you may always need some extra help.

Of course, I’m not saying that everybody will return the favor. In fact, I’m positive plenty of people won’t. But then you’ll quickly realize who are the people you can truly count on.

What I love about this mindset, is that it can easily build friendships with other people. Once you get rid of all the takers around you, you’ll find yourself be surrounded only with like-minded people, who will do their best to help you as well. I also believe that contributing is one of the most fulfilling needs of all human beings, so you will experience this feeling of fulfillment just by helping others.

Of course, ‘helping’ is such a broad term. I’m not talking about giving someone all your savings. After all, it wouldn’t be smart to put yourself in such a situation.

What I’m really talking about is what you CAN do, to the best of your ability. For instance, it may be connecting two people so that they can do business together. Or, it may be by giving some of your time to someone else.

There are thousands of ways to add value to people, so it’s up to you to figure out what you can do to help others.

How would you feel about someone sending business contacts your way all the time, or someone giving you advices on your life or business problems? I would feel pretty good, especially if this person does it out of generosity. This is precisely this kind of action that will make me want to help them in return.

On the contrary, wouldn’t you feel bad not to do anything for them ? I would feel like a total taker, trying to take advantage of them ! So, I would end up giving back to them.

Focus On Others

There was a letter written by the first wife of a billionaire : Elon Musk, that I think would benefit the message I’m trying to convey. Her letter was answering the question ”How can I be a billionaire too ?” to what she answered :

The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (It does not care what you want or deserve.)  The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value.”

This is a wonderful letter, and I must say that those are some wise words. When you start thinking not about what you want, but what other people want, and you fill those needs, then you’ll get what you want.

It might be a natural reaction to focus on ourselves first as human beings to fill your primary needs. However, once those needs are filled – which is the case for most people – you should shift your focus onto the needs of other people.

In the scene, the Godfather is clearly a giver and is ready to help anybody as long as they show him respect. He’s not only using his ressources – which is the mafia (relationships, money, political power) to fill his own needs, but he’s also ready to help others.

After you help people and only after that, then can you expect to, one day, receive something in return.

Unless you can provide value to them first, don’t be focused on yourself by asking something that will benefit you only.

This is, in my opinion the most important principle we should all learn in order to succeed in life : in relationships, and in business ; adding value first before even daring to think about what you want.