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The Reciprocity Ring

In our final class of the quarter, we performed one of the most entertaining and enlightening activities that I’ve ever been a part of. It’s called the Reciprocity Ring and it’s a way for people to use their networks to assist others in accomplishing a goal or request that would be difficult or impossible for them to accomplish on their own.

For example, my classmates had requests such as finding a job with a Chicago Sports Team, getting a ticket to “Hamilton”, and playing a round of golf at the Augusta National Golf Club. The point of the exercise is not to have your request fulfilled, but to help others achieve their request. Also, the goal of the exercise is to use your social capital, rather than your financial capital, to fulfill these requests.

After going through the activity, we learned the power of ourReciprocity Ring Smallsocial capital and the strength of our own networks. For instance, one classmate stated that they would like to purchase a relatively new baby grand piano. As someone who has never played an instrument, you would think I couldn’t help my classmate. However, it turns out one of my best friends has a piano recital this Friday and is looking to sell his baby grand piano after the recital is finished. I was able to provide my friend’s contact information to my classmate.

Even though I desired to have my request fulfilled, I found myself listening intently to my classmates and furiously thinking of ways I could help them achieve their wish. After the activity was completed, I found that I had the prospect of helping about 20%-25% of my classmates. Some people had more social capital or resources to help as many as 50% of our class with their requests! In a group of 60 people, there’s a good chance that someone can help you with your request.

Studies have proven that those who give more, volunteer, or are outward-focused, tend to live longer lives. I don’t doubt this for a moment as I find it incredibly satisfying when I’m able to help others.

The Reciprocity Ring is one of the best things I’ve learned in the MSC Program. I plan to use this activity in the future with my coworkers and friends to help them accomplish their heart’s desires. We all have dreams and goals we would love achieve, but can’t do it on our own. Yet, with the power of networks, the impossible can become possible!