I've been telling everyone I work with to stop acting like other people are doing you favors, and instead just be completely virtuous and then note that you're doing a favor for them if you approach them to work together. This got a little pushback, with one team member saying, "Can we rephrase it as "Don't come across like you're asking for something from a position below them, talk to people as if you're on equal standing and in a mutually beneficial relationship with them"?" Here's my reply -
So, I played Dungeons and Dragons when I was 12 years old. Great game, lots of fun. You get to have storytelling and roll dice and it's really just neat.
But I remember one time, I was confused that there was a "treasure table" that was roughly the same for all characters. Meaning, good characters and evil characters got the same amount of gold/treasure/magic items/whatever.
That didn't make any sense to me. The heroes were famous and loved by society, the villains were evil and wretched and spent all their time chasing gold, so certainly the villains should at least wind up with more gold, right?
And my DM - Dungeon Master - said no, that's not the case. The evil person plots and schemes all the time, and gets gold that way. The good person just does right for everyone, and thus the grateful villager or king gives them gold and magic weapons and whatever.
That's pretty much it - evil people plot and scheme, good people just do good and get compensated.
Except! In real life, no one notices your contributions unless you tell them.
So instead of, "Hey guys, we just killed the dragon..." and then the mayor gives you a +12 sword... instead, in real life, you have to say, "Hey guys, we just killed the dragon. And you've got an unused +12 sword just sitting there since the ancient ruler retired. Can I take that with me?"
Good guys can do that. But the vibe is, "We're killing dragons, want to help?"
You, dragon-killer, are actually doing them a favor by offering to let them help you. I know that sounds strange, but it's really the right vibe.
"Let's plot and scheme together" scares people, risks connotating that you're evil, and otherwise puts people on-guard.
I'd cut out any mutually beneficial relationship vibe/bullshit, and just be like, "Hey, we're killing dragons. Dude, give me that sword." It doesn't work all the time, but it works more often. It's more satisfying, too.
I'd add that you really, really do have to take care of and protect everyone's interests - as mentioned in the "Rationalist Humanitarian Command" series of videos.
I was using D&D as a lens the other day too. I remember playing with an older DM who chastised all of us Gen-Yers for "bouncing off the walls until something happened like it was a Playstation game." It got to where all we had to do was break/blast through a brick wall to have an amazing adventure and instead we just gave up because there was no door. That was a low point.
The same mindset with which a player pushes and tests the dungeon is used in a contract negotiation or sales meeting or anything in business.
P.S. Why do people who played D&D write about +12 swords and other ridiculous stuff that wasn't in the game? You're not a Hollywood writer. You know that caps at +5 as a general rule, at least at the level where a mayor would have one. ;)
The largest mental gains I made in the shortest period of time were from studying rationality.
I was amazed to discover a couple years ago that there were people who regularly studied and discussed how to think, how to get correct and accurate beliefs about how the world works, how to understand how your mind works, and to get at the real reasons people make decisions.
The whole rationality thing is as addictive as crack-cocaine for me. I love it. The difference from crack, though, is you grow stronger and smarter the more you dive in.
Our minds are funny. We humans, we're "adaptation exercisers, not fitness maximizers" -
Fifty thousand years ago, the taste buds of Homo sapiens directed their bearers to the scarcest, most critical food resources - sugar and fat. Calories, in a word. Today, the context of a taste bud's function has changed, but the taste buds themselves have not. Calories, far from being scarce (in First World countries), are actively harmful. Micronutrients that were reliably abundant in leaves and nuts are absent from bread, but our taste buds don't complain. A scoop of ice cream is a superstimulus, containing more sugar, fat, and salt than anything in the ancestral environment.
Ever since I was little, dragons have been a fantastical part of my daydreams. Giant reptilian creatures gliding and battling in the air above me and, if I was extra creative that day, me riding upon their backs. When the first How To Train Your Dragon movie was announced, I found myself super excited by the trailers. I even read the first book to prepare for the movie, even though I was most likely fifteen at the time. Although the films do not really follow the plotline in Cressida Cowell’s books, the imaginative world of Berk brought in audiences with the tale of Hiccup and his dragon, Toothless.
Any sequel trying to follow up fantastic originals are often up to much criteria. Fans do not want to be disappointed and the film company most likely will have a lot of weight on their back. However, How To Train Your Dragon 2 lived up to its expectations as we follow our older heroes on a quest to bring down a dragon warlord.