Yesterday, we talked about Tom Friedman’s distinction between Makers and Breakers. But there’s another popular contrast with Makers – the Takers.
The distinction between Makers and Takers was, at one point, conservative code talk for “economic producers” vs “people on welfare.” However, just last year, Rana Foroohar came out with a book labeling the takers as the wizards of high finance and the makers as the businesses that actually produce products.
I’m asking that we set aside the politicized approach to Makers and Takers. Let’s ask the question at a much more personal level – what is it for a person to be a taker?
Takers enjoy the benefits without contributing. In a group, they are the people who don’t give much back. They are the parents who never volunteer with their kid’s sports team. They are the two cup a day drinker who never contributes to the office coffee fund. They are first in line at the potluck supper, but don’t bring a dish to share.
Takers consume emotional resources rather than replenishing them. They are the people who monologue without listening. They dump their emotional issues on you. They chew up massive amounts of your time without heed for your needs.
Takers ask a lot of you without giving much in return. They don’t understand boundaries, so they’re continually asking for more than could be reasonably expected. They continually ask if they can avail themselves of your resources, your connections, your skills.
Takers are oblivious to their effects. They don’t grasp the irritation and annoyance that they spawn. They see themselves as perfectly reasonable.
Each of us, at some time or another, is a taker. Depending on the context, situation, or season of life, we may just have to be takers. We all lean upon one another through difficult and challenging seasons. Or we may take in one situation and give in another. The problem is when we develop a persistent pattern of taking without contributing; when we develop a consumer mindset rather than a creator mindset.
Pixar’s Wall-E depicted a dystopian world where everyone has every need met – no-one needs to contribute. Each person in society jets around in a giant comfort chair, their eyes fixed on a little screen. No-one contributes, no-one really connects – they just consume. And it’s a flaccid nightmare of an existence. That is a society of Takers.
So the question – are you more of a Maker or more of a Taker. Do you consume more than you create? What do you contribute – to your family, to your community, to the nation, to the world?
Let’s go make wonderful, beautiful things, shall we?
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