The Power of Taking the First Action

Chris Brogan & Trust Agents
Image by CC Chapman via Flickr

Rereading Trust Agents last week, I was struck by the section on The Power of Taking the First Action. I always hesitate.  I think twice before acting.  Doing this keeps me from responding genuinely and quickly.  By the time I decide to act, all the immediacy is gone and my natural response appears controlled and planned.  It is like that when I have  the impulse to connect with someone whether on the Web or in person. I resist the situation where I might owe something to anyone.  I also avoid situations where someone may owe me.  It is a formula for isolation.  What should I be  doing?

“The first action, or favor, in an exchange becomes a precedent that people remember.  Say you are out for dinner one night and a colleague foots the tab for the whole table.  What happens next? We remember the person, and we make plans to return the favor.  Though it may not be dinner.  The favor will be returned.  We know it because that’s what people do with their friends, and that’s what online communities are: friends.

This may be difficult to understand at first.  How can you consider yourself friends with people you’ve only met once or twice, or not at all?  They are not real friends….or are they?  The definition of friend as it is used in this context may be different from how we view our childhood friends … but friends are, nontheless, what these people are.


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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jean Sarauer May 5, 2010, 4:13 pm

    Things really do work the same online as in the “real” world, or at least that’s what I’ve found. I’m pretty outgoing in real life so it’s natural for me to reach out to folks and not think about the “owing” aspect. One thing I do find though is that just as in real life, I naturally respond first to people who are “in front of my face,” so it turns out I build relationships faster with people who show up at the same online places I frequent. It’s sort of like having a beer with someone without the beer 🙂
    .-= Jean Sarauer´s last blog ..The Clue Train is Coming to Town =-.

    • Ralph May 5, 2010, 4:42 pm

      It is easier for me on line than in person.

  • Dave Doolin May 5, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I’m not familiar with “first action.”

    That alone is enough to interest me in Trust Agents.
    .-= Dave Doolin´s last blog ..How To Unlaunch Your Ebook =-.

    • Ralph May 5, 2010, 4:43 pm

      I liked it.
      .-= Ralph´s last blog ..The Power of Taking the First Action =-.

  • Steve Scott Site May 7, 2010, 5:13 pm

    The first step is often the hardest one to take, but if you do something once it will get easier and easier each time after. It’s so important to expand our social circles and meet new people because you never know what kind of friendships / business relationships will result. Try not to worry about “owing” people, in real life or online.

    • Ralph May 8, 2010, 7:31 am

      Thanks. I don’t know where the obligation compulsion comes from but it certainly doesn’t make relationships easier.

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