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Stop helping people

Yes, you read me correctly, I believe you should stop trying to help people.
In this time where we look for more help, and we try to give more to those in needs, it’s important to get clear on what we do to help, and especially why we “help”, and how to do it the right way.
Because whether they’re friends, family, colleagues, or whoever it is you’re trying to help, you “helping” them might actually be doing more harm than good.

Why we help people

We help people because we think we know better, we think we can do it better than them, and ultimately, we help because we believe they need our help.
But it’s only one side of the story, the other is that helping makes us feel better. We might feel needed, we might feel we make a difference in the world, and that makes us feel good.
But if doing an action to help actually make us feel better, then maybe, just maybe, we might be helping more for ourselves than for those we “help”.

Why we should help

Helping is good, it makes us feel better, it makes great adventures possible, it creates a sense of belonging and community.
And if someone asks for and needs your help and you feel like giving it, then definitely help. Help without expectation of reciprocity, help because you want to.
And you’ll both be better for it.

Why we shouldn’t help

Sometimes you will want to do something in place of someone else, because they don’t know how to do it, or because you know how to do it better. And they may even ask you to help.
But doing it in their place will result in two things: stagnation and resentment.
Stagnation because you’re robbing the person the opportunity to learn and get better, and in the meantime you’re not working on something that would challenge you, so you’re not learning either.
Resentment because you might feel like you shouldn’t have to do that, and why can’t they do it properly. And from the other side, at one point they will resent the fact that you wouldn’t push them to learn how to do it themselves.

Learning and learning experiences are a huge part of this life on earth, and while we can be taught skills and facts, true learning comes from inside, doing something and experiencing life.

If helping someone means robbing them of the experience of learning, then that’s not helping.

A fine line

Don’t get away from this article thinking that you shouldn’t help homeless people on the streets because otherwise they won’t learn. Basic needs have to be fulfilled, and when someone can’t fulfill them (whether it’s because of physical or emotional trauma), then it’s important to step up and help.
But helping people survive and helping people grow are different things. Sometimes helping means challenging someone. But it’s not enough to say “why don’t you get a job?” or “I challenge you to make a million dollars” to someone living on the streets (or on unemployment for a long time). If they see no possible way to achieve that, then it’s not helping at all, on the contrary, it will increase the feelings of helplessness.

In order to truly help someone, show them a challenge that’s just outside their comfort zone and help them see that they can actually accomplish it.

Next time you want to help someone, make sure you’re helping the right way, and for the right reasons.

Don’t be afraid to stand out

Have you ever felt like you were hiding in the shadows? And if only you could get out there and be recognized?

Does it feel like it’s too difficult?

The drive to blend in

Humans are social creatures. From the beginning of times we’ve been living in tribes.
Without the tribe, you’d have no one to watch your back, and it would likely result in violent death.
While some people think our times are times of selfishness and egocentrism, the truth is, without the infrastructure provided by society, most people would not survive.
We need others for survival. It was true then, it is true now.

If that doesn’t convince you, just look at babies. Without an adult taking care of them, babies would die. And while reliance on others decrease as we age, the limbic brain (responsible for our emotions) still associate being rejected, or outside of our tribe as dangerous or even imminent death.

No wonder we want to blend in. Even if it means hiding who we truly are.

The desire for more

Who doesn’t have big dreams of changing the world?
Being a hero, righting the wrongs, simply making a difference.
No one has ever made a difference by staying hidden.
You may be afraid to be seen, but the truth is you want to. You want to be recognized, you want to achieve your dreams, and you want to make an impact that you can be proud of.

Are you one of us?

Society and tribes have a strong biais towards wanting you to be a team player, sacrificing your desires for the needs of the group. Any hint of wanting to be different or change the way it is will be seen as a threat to the survival of the group.
So the tribe will exert social pressure to prevent you from trying to change the status quo, which prevents you from being all you can be.
If you want to create something different or make an impact on the world, it’s most likely that your tribe (family, colleagues, friends) will resist that. It can be by straight-up telling you you can’t, hitting you on the head, or simply finding flaws in your reasoning or plans in order to “protect you” from disappointment or failure.

Only the bold creates breakthroughs

While society doesn’t like outliers, it needs courageous people to step up, lead and be the change. When you act differently, there will be resistance, but once people realize there is no stopping you, then (and only then), you will start getting followers, being embraced and supported.

But first, you need to stand out, do what matters to you, commit to be the change, whether or not you’re supported. And you will.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
– Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

How can you stand out today?