Last week, Darryl from Mountaineers Books reached out to me. They wanted to repurchase the rights to an image I shot years ago in the North Cascades. In his offer, he acknowledged they wanted to fairly compensate me despite their budget being limited. In addition to a check, ‘I’d like to offer a restock of your outdoor library!’ he wrote me. ‘Please pick out some books as gifts or for your bookcase. Happy to send 15-20 titles.’
We’re big book fans in this house. Specifically, outdoor books like what The Mountaineers happens to publish. It was a gracious offer and easy to pick out what turned out to be nineteen books. When I sent Darryl our picks, I offered to merely consider it a wish list. If any titles were too expensive or low on stock I mentioned to not worry about including them. I felt bad taking him up on his offer.
But why? I’ve brought up before how a lot of us––myself included––have a hard time accepting a compliment. Just as hard for me I guess is accepting a gift, even when like this it borders on compensation.
Coincidentally, I’m listening to Monty Moran’s book Love is Free, Guac is Extra. It’s his story about the time he spent as CEO of Chipotle and how he led the culture with, as the book’s name suggests, love and vulnerability. In the second chapter he writes:
‘It’s a universal truth that giving is more gratifying than receiving.'
He goes on to tell the story of how in Buddhism there’s a notion that the one who begs for food or money is doing a favor to the one from whom they beg. In doing so, they’re allowing that person to give and thus to improve their karma.
Darryl wanted to give us the gift of books, and it must have felt good for him. I need to stop feeling bad accepting someone’s gift when it’s offered. Like a lot of things, however, easier said than done. This will be a good reminder.