Alchemist-lesson 1- Never promise what you dont have

The Alchemist, is the most influencing book i have read, yet. The lessons from this master piece has changed the way i think, the way i take my life and the way i deal with people.

One of the important lessons that i learnt was "Never promise something that you dont have".
Say, you are a web startup and offer activity points to your users and these points can be redeemed with your redemption partners for goodies. You have just thought about this promotion campaign and not thought about the redemption partners yet. You believe you will drive traffic to their site and in return they will redeem those points for your users.

It was all your expectation and you promised the deal to your users. As a result your users never believed you because you could never tell them the exact deal. In turn, the users did not turn up as expected and you couldn't drive enough traffic to your partners. So as expected, the partners, who were yet to be your partners, never became your partners.

Had you talked to your partners earlier and given a lesser attractive deal to your users, atleast you wouldn't have lost your integrity and credibility. Now nobody in the tribe wants to write about your new deals, your new website, your new features; just because you hurt the credibility of the tribe.

Same goes with hiring people. You might find it safe to say, "I am expecting a million $ in profits and as CTO you will get 10 % of it". Now as the owner, you expect to get a work worth $ 100 thousand from your CTO but you never realised that you did not promise him that amount. You know your company will do only as good as your CTO but now your CTO will do only as good as you company. So it would have been better if you had set standards for atleast one of them. This way there would be a sense of responsibility and obligation amongst the parties in the deal. You will get only as much as you can give. If you promise to give an expectation, you will get only an expectation of success.

You might argue that Obama also promised a dream and became successful. You are wrong. He is not successful yet. He has been given a chance to be successful. The tribe is with him now but just wait and watch his destiny if he cannot deliver what he promised. By not fulfilling promises you are actually destroying the credibility of your tribe. If the tribe kicks you out, no one will accept you.

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