The Law of Reciprocity: Random Acts of Kindness

Rafay Hiraj
5 min readJan 20, 2022


“Nice guys finish last,” sure! (sarcasm)

Let’s talk about reciprocity.

Indeed a lost sport in the modern world.

Doing random acts of kindness for people around you can go a long way to improving your relationship with others, as well as being able to influence them positively.

Several studies indicate that if you give something to someone, a cognitive conflict develops in their mind. More often than not, this conflict ends with them wanting to do something for you.

This is obviously packaged with an ethical conflict.

People may give you phony compliments and cheap gifts so you would pay them back with bigger ones.

However, it doesn’t have to be phony. We can all commit to making this as real as possible and building a more positive community.

Nice guys finish last

Kindness is something that can not be wasted.

No amount of kindness is lost. However, it is true that people who tend to be kinder than others are believed to be more naive in the community.

This is a common myth that I don’t believe in.

Nice guys don’t finish last, it is the bad guys posing as nice guys that do

-Gary Vaynerchuk

When you do something for someone and expect something in return, or have high expectations of them after doing so, that is when you disappoint yourself.

When the efforts are not rewarded, there is that feeling of being betrayed. Coupled with everything else, people start believing they are naive and that is why society manages to ‘take advantage’ of them. This piles up with them hearing well-known people yelling out, ‘Nice guys finish last, become hard!’

This is an immature manner of thinking and is selfish at its core.

When you do something for someone, remind yourself that you are doing it based on your own free will and free choice. You can not demand something back.

If everything you do is a sort of manipulation you will end up tiring and hating yourself.

Don’t expect anything back

This ideology does not mean that we as humans are selfish (although we are and that is ok), but rather it indicates your own selflessness and willingness to help those that need it.

What is it going to cost complimenting someone you admire?

What is it going to cost to be there for someone in hard times?

What is it going to cost to do someone a favor just for the sake of doing it?

It is when you think of things like that, that you develop a better mindset.

It is essential that you prioritize making value over receiving value that you end up getting it. Start doing favors, no strings attached just for the sake of helping people.

When you adopt such a philosophy, that is the foundation of personal development. This is what no self-help or get-rich-quick guru will teach you.

You reap what you sow is a well-known phrase. When you sow quality for people, nature rewards you back as a balancing act. People will tell you it is based on luck, but let me tell you first, it is not!

Kindness is reciprocated when it is received.

Being kind is courageous

It takes courage to be kind.

It puts you in a vulnerable position. To an onlooker that might seem like a moment of weakness or simply a cry for help but that need not be the case.

People may call you emotional and naive. I have been called that and that used to bother me. Now, it doesn’t.

The truth is it’ll only bother you when you let it. You let it by having a hidden agenda subconsciously.

People offer something based on something else. That is also a form of reciprocity, but not the one I am talking about.

Every one of us has talents, hidden gifts. Maybe we should start looking at them more like a responsibility and not a sign of superiority. Share them with the rest and help those you can with them.

We all have a limited time in the world, might as well be remembered as people who benefited the rest and ended up making a difference.

Giving away money

The most widely associated act with kindness is giving away money.

Kindness does not have to be in monetary terms though, it can be filled with small gestures too.

But talking specifically about monetary terms let me share an example.

Imagine about a hundred people in a room. Suddenly, a terrifying earthquake comes about and they are told to evacuate. The luckiest person is the group of people is the one that has nothing of importance to pick up. If you have something of value, you have to get that and then go out, it will slow you down. If you come in empty-handed, you can simply run out. You are the safest.

We all have to go at some point.

The person with the least to lose automatically wins.

If having all the wealth in the world makes you a slave to it, to the point that you can’t leave it behind, well then were you really successful?

This of course does not mean that you can’t have money goals. I’ll be the first to confess that I have humungous monetary goals in my life but I want my major goal to be making a difference in the world.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most successful personalities of all time, prioritized the act of kindness in his environment.

After he died, a piece of paper was found in his possession that stated his goal. It read, “I will spend the first half of my life accumulating wealth, and the other half giving it away.”

It is reported that by 1911 Carnegie had given away 90% of his wealth- 350 million dollars.

The person who dies rich, dies disgraced

-Andrew Carnegie

He had $475 million dollars to his name way back then. To those wondering that is between 300 and 375 billion dollars in today’s terms.

He might just be the most successful person ever (before Elon Musk surpasses him) and this was his secret so make no mistake, this is important.

Quality of life

It is no coincidence that generous people tend to be happier than the ones that are not. In fact, a reliable metric, and one of the major causes of happiness is generosity.

Quality of life is associated with this. At your inevitable deathbed let yourself be happy. Imagine dying thinking you had a good life. Let there be no regrets, regrets which lie in everyday neglecting of kind acts. As Jim Rohn said,

“Regrets weigh tons.

Allow me to sum this all up,

Chase life worth, not net worth

-Gary Vaynerchuk



Rafay Hiraj

Self Improvement and Life Lessons