"...remembering the word of the Lord Jesus, how he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35)
I believe this, so I try to be quick to give my time, my energy, my money, my stuff. But what happens, time after time, is that the more I give away, the more I get back. And what we get from each other, freely given, is really "blessed" more than what we earn or buy for ourselves.
Concrete example from right now: I went to some effort to give away a book to a friend in Canada. The same day, someone at work gave me a book that she had enjoyed and thought I would like. And three days ago, I received, in the mail, from Cleveland, a book about Henry Flagler and the overseas railroad that my friend Marilyn wanted to share with me. So if I'm trying to give more than I get, just in that one measurable department (books) I'm behind right now. But looking at the larger picture, what a blessing it is to be part of a community of readers.
There's an old story about heaven and hell: in hell, there's a long banquet table filled with sumptuous food and hungry people are sitting all around it, but they can't bend their arms at the elbows, so as hard as they try, they can't bring the food to their mouths. So they are starving, and in agony. The scene in heaven? Just the same set-up, table, food, elbows that don't bend, but in heaven the people are feeding one another.
For a totally convoluted analysis of the "getting ahead by being behind" conundrum, I recommend John Barth's book Giles Goat Boy. It is wonderfully diabolical, almost guaranteed to tie your synapses in knots. A very good book, if you like that kind of thing.