Despite trying to juggle so many metaphorical balls in our lives; a social culture that caters to those who invest the time, money and effort necessary to make themselves the very best human being they can be; and 2Pac’s wonderful (and COMPLETELY inappropriate) song “All About U” which has NOTHING to do with this post — you need to realize that it’s NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.
The world is a massive place. We’re cresting 7 billion people on the planet, and while we have 195 countries with vastly different cultures, customs and contexts, many of the fundamental underlying stories and issues are very similar worldwide.
Much of my time is spent helping other people. It’s not something I sought to do, but as I lend an ear to more and more people, it’s a part of my life that’s growing increasingly prominent.
Everyone needs help — even if only a little. We can be really stubborn and just deny it, but a person is no island — if you try to do everything in your life by yourself, you’re just ASKING to burn out.
But how do we ask for help? How do we give the help that others need — even if they don’t know they need it? How can we put all the pieces together so that we’re all getting to where we want to be, doing the things we want to do?
1: YOU’LL NEVER KNOW UNTIL YOU ASK
We often shrink away from asking questions because
- we fear that we’ll ask a stupid question
- we don’t want to seem like we don’t know what we’re doing
- we don’t want to accept that others may know more than us
but really, we need to get over ourselves. We’re not computers — we’re not designed to know everything in the universe. It’s okay to be familiar in only a few subject areas and have to get help to figure out something you just can’t get in unfamiliar territory. It’s okay to have a brand new idea or dream and not keep it secret — you win some, you lose some; the person you tell just might be the very person you needed to help you out!
I used to want to do everything myself, but I’m a bit older and wiser now, and I’m starting to build the foundations of different projects, inviting others to help me with going from there. It’s possible that I could have a perfect match to my vision and more things to boast about if I did everything myself, but really, there’s only 24 hours in a day, and I’m not about to spend all of them working on projects. Use your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blackberry Messenger, telephone — whatever it is you use to communicate with others — and don’t be afraid to ask those questions, because you can only get when you give, and you never know what you’ll get in return!
2: I’LL SAY IT AGAIN, YOU’VE GOTTA GIVE TO GET
It’s good to be a giving sort of person. And I’m not really talking about the run an event and do giveaways sort of giving (though that’s pretty awesome too), I’m talking about going out of your way to improve the lives of others. In the past week or so, I’ve given backpacks to friends who needed something comfortable that wouldn’t give them any more back pains; I’ve given old comics to a friend since I knew I wouldn’t be reading them anymore — we have so much stuff around us, so many abilities within us — why don’t we give more?
Society tells us that we work hard for our money and for the things that we have. True. But time and time again, I mention that we often buy the wrong things and end up with little but clutter. I mentioned my own experiences with this recently
, and am now going through boxes and boxes, trying to sort out what’s useful and what just takes up valuable space. So choose your possessions wisely, and with the ones you realize you no longer need, perhaps you can find someone else who might make better use of it on a site like freecycle
. (Or Craigslist
if you’re hard up for cash.)
But that’s just possessions — there’s also a much deeper level of giving that you can do if you expect to be able to get anything back from the world. Give your time. Listen to others. Help answer the needs and questions of others without prompting. I’m a believer in karma, and I’m sure the world will re-pay you for the good you put into it.
Five quick ways you can help others:
- By replying to tweets looking for help or commenting on Facebook statuses asking questions
- Giving spare change or food to those who obviously need it
- Lending an ear without judgment or expectation that you’ll be able to fix the problem
- Helping pick up the slack for someone who’s obviously in need of a helping hand at work or home, or even on the bus with a stroller, for instance
- Doing something nice for someone you care about without prompting
Not only will the world pay you back for it, you’ll likely feel better about what you do day in and day out as well.
3: THE BIGGER PICTURE
So really, in the end, if we all manage to be receptive to help and to helping others, we can all truly get to wherever it is we want to go. Our time in this world will be full of hurdles and obstacles for all of us, but they’re not insurmountable. With the help of others, anyone can conquer just about anything!
So go help people. Ask for the help you need. Eventually, if we all do this enough, maybe the world will actually be a better place!
–Casey E. Palmer