The Ethic of Reciprocity

By Jon Gilson

The Ethic of ReciprocityI love immutable principles, ideas with a strong basis in natural law, ideas that pay dividends endlessly if implemented. Typically, their elegance betrays their power.

For the last seven years, I've latched on to "the pursuit of excellence" as the standard by which I measure all endeavors. 

Simply, iterate toward excellence, and the world will reward your efforts. This practice has borne more fruit than I had any right to expect, filling my life with excellent, intelligent, hardworking people, people that I love. 

I have CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman to thank for the idea, and whatever universal karmic force governs outcomes to thank for the people.

I've recently come to another immutable principle, obvious to the point of absurdity: "take care of those you love". For some reason, I'd failed to take Greg's point, the pursuit of excellence, to its logical conclusion, namely that the pursuit applies to all aspects of life, including relationships. 

I'd pursued business with aplomb, forgetting that "business" is an abstract concept, merely the name we give a collection of people with a common goal, carrying a set of common resources, organized against an uncertain world. 

People are the root, the generators of excellence, and they must be treated as such, cared for and nurtured. All else, success, profits, ROI, customer satisfaction, product development, whatever, is the natural extension of this practice. 

The immutable principle, the ethic of reciprocity, is not mine, and has been expressed throughout history. Love thy Brother. Treat others as you'd want to be treated. No matter how you say it, I have a feeling it holds true everywhere, in all times, in all lands, in all instances, the unspoken end going something like this:

Take care of those you love (and they'll take care of you).


Jon Gilson is the founder of Again Faster and a member of the CrossFit L1 Training Staff.