A little over a decade ago an anthropologist introduced me to social performance. She shared its three tenets with incredible clarity and they have stayed with me ever since.
1. Social performance is the personal pursuit to improve the happiness of one other person.
It can scale to millions of people but it starts with just one person. The point here is that happiness is the quality to improve and whilst subtle, this is important because most people associate the word ‘social’ with disadvantage.
2. The measure of social performance is subjective.
In other words, you are the one to consciously self-assess whether your efforts to improve the happiness of another person meet your own standards, not someone else’s.
3. Social performance has its own network effect.
Efforts to increase the happiness of others will be magnetic to people you do and don’t know if you make known what you do. In other words, people can’t be what they can’t see.
Today, ten years on, these tenets influence my contribution to family, how I build businesses and why I support women entrepreneurs, donate blood and work to reintegrate veterans.
Everyone will describe the important themes of their life differently. These are mine and this structure helps me to maximise my contribution, which also means I deliberately don’t invest capital or effort in other areas.