On Helping

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It’s a common platitude: help others.

In fact, it’s common enough that it also gets dismissed out of hand.

Don’t dismiss it.

Another common reaction is to believe you don’t have the capability, resources, or whatever is needed to help others.

Don’t believe that either.

Just because you don’t have the resources of a billionaire doesn’t mean you don’t have the capability of helping others. Even simple acts of kindness count. Be it to strangers, family members, community members, or others, “helping” is something that anyone can do at almost any time.

Don’t underestimate the skills you have, either.

Think about what you’re good at, especially if it’s something you enjoy. Now, think about the ways you might take that skill or activity and do it in the service of others. That’s helping. Be it cooking, cleaning, computering, lifting heavy things, or just talking on the phone, these are all skills that someone, somewhere, will appreciate.

Often, there are entire organizations set up that could use your help.

We think of “helping” as something different from work. It’s entirely possible that the best way you can help is through your job. There’s nothing wrong with getting paid to help — if it’s truly helping in some way.

We live lives focused on “what’s in it for me?” Change the focus. Be more mindful of the people and opportunities around you. “What’s in it for them?” is a simple way to start.

A side effect of helping and just generalized kindness is that it’s been shown to make you feel happier and more positive about yourself and life. It’s a go-to strategy for people suffering from depression, but that doesn’t mean you need to be depressed to help. You’ll still benefit, and so will the people around you.