How can you get more out of the world?

When comedian Michael Junior found himself in a room with Jay Leno, he was probably a little nervous.

As an up and coming performer, Junior had worked for years to small crowds to arrive at this moment. Now, a king of late-night television was asking him to help work out a joke.

Some big NFL player was in the news because he’d been hit in the eye by a flagpole, and was now suing the league for what seemed like an ungodly amount. Leno and the others in the room were having trouble coming up with a good punch line, so they asked Junior what he thought.

“So the guy got hit in the eye?” Junior asked.

“Yep,” responded the room.

“And he’s asking for a lot of money?”


Michael smiled as the finishing line popped into his head.

“I bet he won’t see half of it.”

The room exploded with laughter. Junior went on to give a great show that night and Jay Leno flew him to Los Angeles a few months later. After that his career took a definite upturn.

But if you ask the comedian, his life changed far before that moment.

“One night before I got on stage, I had a change in mindset,” Junior says. “Most comedians want to go get laughs. But [that night], I was looking for an opportunity to give.”

The lesson is subtle, but life-changing. He changed his question from:

“How do I get more?”


“How do I give more?”

Honestly, it’s pretty difficult to make this mindset change. We are pummeled by messages every day, each of them encouraging us to “get” something for ourselves.

Worse still, there are more opportunities to do this than ever before. Between Buzzfeed’s “X number of reasons to love Yorkshire puppies!!” and the eleventy-billion channels that are now available on cable and the Internet, it’s incredibly easy to get more from the universe than we give.

But that’s exactly why your gift is so powerful. In a world which is begging us to lie down, sit down, and take all it has to offer, what if we stood up and showed the world what we had?

What if you showed up to your job and instead of thinking “I’m just here to get a paycheck,” you thought “How can I give so much to this place that they can’t wait to pay me?”

In a world full of takers, you can stand out by giving your heart out. The irony of all of this is that givers get more than takers ever do.

For Michael Junior, giving meant blowing up the late-night talk show scene and rocketing into the comedy career he always wanted.

What could it mean for you?

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Written by

An optimist who writes.

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