7 Reasons Why People Helping People Matters #blindpost
Having been inspired by the #blindpost movement, I woke up this morning with an idea for a post that became this blog.
One of the intents of the blindpost exercise is to see an original title somewhere and without reading that post, write your own original post with the same title but your own content. Then you request feedback and see what you missed. Finally, read the original article that inspired you to write in the first place.
And while I never saw the above specific title anywhere…it is just a variation on a theme I’ve seen in the last few years. Here we go.
1. TO KEEP HOPE ALIVE
Yes, it’s true. Some people are just born with a golden spoon in their mouth and don’t really have to worry about things that us mere mortals do (e.g. mortgage, job, relationships, etc.). Others, are just very good at hitting the curveballs life throws at us sometimes - these folks are blessed to be coated with Teflon and are just naturally wired to process “the lows” quickly. For the rest of us, the lows can become compounded by other lows and just become one prolonged lull. That’s where hope comes in. Hope is one of those beautiful things in life that lets us get through the rough times - even against all odds. The gift of hope is sometimes easy to lose. I remember one such time during my consulting days; while consulting was very fun, there came one major drawback…I realized that I could not sustain living normally if I didn’t have daily, face-to-face interaction with my team. So, I went on a quest to find a job that paid well, was exciting, and was in a place where really smart and creative people thrived. This little endeavor took a lot more time than I thought; after all, all the jobs wearing bunny suits are all taken. At some point, I remember losing hope and I found myself in a slump. I also remember a chief executive of a really sexy agency (everybody, wanted to work for there at the time) taking a meeting with me, hearing me out, and opening up a few doors at his agency (which in an ironic twist was recently acquired by my immediate past employer). This single, 30 minute event recharged my hope batteries and I believe helped me stay more positive, ultimately getting me the job I was looking for which got me the job where I am now, which is one of the best places I’ve been in corporate America.
2. TO CREATE A SHADOW
I really love Warren Buffett’s quote: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” This speaks to the ‘existential me’. Yes, it’s nice to have financial independence, drive a faster car, have a greener yard, etc., but what about the future? Helping somebody today, especially the younger generation, plants a tree that will eventually bear fruit to the ‘next big thing’. One piece of advice you give today can inspire somebody to create a sustainable energy source, warp speed or means to end hunger. The possibilities! That’s why I never (albeit with some delay) turn down an opportunity to help somebody, especially students. Last summer I had an intern and found that structuring his time with me using this mantra was mutually rewarding. Looking forward to mentoring two more interns this summer!
3. BECAUSE YOU CAN
Don’t tell me there’s not an hour you can’t carve out on a weekend instead of sleeping in (it’s overrated). Everybody from the super-executive to the entry-level college grad can help out. Giving help is a choice all of us (with few exceptions) make. Here’s an easy one. Go run, walk or roll in a 5k. Impossible? Stand on the sidelines and cheer on the participants. Shameless plug: my annual cause is the Winship 5k (reach out if you want to be on my team; last year we surpassed our goal of $25k and collectively with other folks raised almost ½ million to get us closer to “the cure”). Why not give hope to those that have none?
4. IT FEELS GOOD
Doesn’t it just feel good to help other people? It does for me. I feel fantastic after making a positive impact on somebody’s life. The feeling makes me happier as a person and enables me to be fruitful in other areas of my life. So, why not? I know some would say, “well, donating my day to cause doesn’t make a difference.” I call bullshit. This sounds to me like an excuse. First of all, you don’t need to devote a full day. After all, 1 hour each month over one year is a day and half of helping somebody. And! It doesn’t need to be structured. Maybe you devote that hour to calling somebody that needs the call or visiting a relative or friend that’s come on hard times. Or answer a question on Quora that a stranger in need posted. Or maybe you prefer a structured program. Here comes shameless plug #2. After some independent and later collaborative discussions and experiences, Jeff and I have formed MATCH and you should check it out!. The bottom line: giving is about quality, NOT quantity. But hey, if you have a lot of good stuff to give, go for it and feel good about it!
5. IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO
I think it is our moral imperative as human beings to help and our human right to ask (not demand) “help”. How many times have you passed somebody at the office with a frown on their face and said nothing? Or maybe you’ve been ‘meaning’ to get to help somebody out, only it’s been years and you haven’t. Well, take this opportunity to do the right thing. And remember, if you want help, it’s only fair for you to help others. Which brings me to…
6. KARMA IS ALIVE & WELL
This blog is not intended to guilt or scare folks into doing something they don’t want to do. The truth is, if you don’t agree with what I’m saying here, you’re probably better off not helping others because it may actually make you miserable and make the other person take a step back rather than forward. But, I believe there is such a thing as Karma. I don’t mean some ‘magical woo’ system of checks and balances where you do something here and just sit back and wait for your biggest problem to be solved there. No. I just believe in a Karmic way of life. Good begets good. Good things happen NOT to those that wait but those who do good deeds. Again, I don’t believe in the converse but good things DO happen to good people.
7. YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE
There are different ways one can help. If such a thing was quantifiable, I would bet that most problems are solved not with money but with somebody donating their time and talent; by being someone’s sounding board; with empathy; by sharing your experience, wisdom, or perspective; by opening up your network and resources; or any other number of creative ways which are the means to create meaning in our lives. The point is, everybody has a lot to offer — and somebody can benefit in a tangible way. Why not help?
If I’ve missed something here, please comment below (in a constructive way) and help me refine my thoughts as I evolve “Why People Helping People Matters” =)