How to Help Someone (And Ultimately Help Yourself in the Process)

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

Richard P. Feynman

There’s a funny, slightly insulting quote you’ve likely heard, from the author and dramatist George Bernard Shaw, that goes “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches”. And perhaps, an even funnier follow-up quote by Woody Allen, saying “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.”

Now that I’ve insulted every teacher and, specifically, gym teacher reading this, I’d like to discuss a somewhat related idea (that might be a bit more helpful to us than criticizing our doing and teaching abilities):

If you can’t help yourself, try helping others.

When we hear about other people’s problems, Why do we think they are so much easier to solve than our own?

Because we can usually see their — our friend, family member, coworker, boss, etc —problem with a clear mind and come up with linear ideas and strategies to solve it. Our problems are too close to us because we are the ones dealing with them (and at the same time trying not to have a panic attack and emotionally eating an entire cake). And it’s the same both ways. They might see your problems and think they are easy to solve, just like you think the same about theirs. In reality, most problems are messy and hard to deal with. But we make them harder by weighing them down with fear and blindly try to fix things without clarifying the problems first. Clarity is key.

Clarity is what we can give to others. And clarity is what we need for our own problems. We need to see all the visible cards on the table and think through (and gut feel) our way through the cards we don’t know about.

How do you help someone gain clarity about their problems? Have a conversation with them. And more importantly, listen to them. Be a sounding-board first; A helper second. Sometimes all we need is to hear ourselves speak aloud about our problem. Having a person in front of us who is giving us eye contact, nodding their heads every so often, and allowing us to talk is a great way to do that and really hear what we need to hear.

After, listening, giving actionable advice and ideas is another way we can help someone. I believe advice needs to come from a neutral place. The point of helping is not to tell them what you think is best for them. You need to think about the advice that is best for who they are and what their goals are. Remember, we’re not trying to make clones of ourselves. We’re trying to help others be the best version of themselves they can be. Not the best versions of us they can be.

Of course, sometimes people don’t know what they need. Use your best judgment. Some skills and piece of advice are universal. For example, building a better community and support group around you who all want you to succeed is always a great idea. (Or at least, I’ve never heard or read anyone giving the opposite advice — ‘don’t be friends with anyone. support groups will get you nowhere’ 😜)

However, there’s a caveat I would be remiss if I didn’t say: we first need to make sure that the person (or people) we are trying to help actually want our help. If we’re just telling them what to do and giving them a dozen ideas to try that they don’t want and didn’t ask for, the help isn’t going to work. And related, it’s always good if you can back up your advice with experience. If you haven’t taken your own advice, very few people are actually going to listen. Help works where it’s needed, not where it’s assumed to be needed.

By putting our energy towards helping others, we end up helping others and helping ourselves. Not only do we do a good thing by lifting someone up when their down and teaching them something valuable, we also begin to feel better about our own circumstances and problems because we are no longer are wasting so much energy into doubt, fear and worry about ourselves. By channeling our energy towards others, we’ve taken away energy that we would be giving to fearing our own issues.

Giving a helping hand doesn’t have to be just people we know too. We can also help others online or in our local community that we haven’t met. We could even put energy towards helping a group of people, like the homeless, or a type of need, like clean water.

In a roundabout way, helping others usually helps ourselves in the process. We gain motion through the act of helping others, and in the process gain the confidence and momentum we need to help ourselves.

How can you leverage your skills, connections and extra resources to help others?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #684

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Related

“Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“It’s also selfish because it makes you feel good when you help others. I’ve been helped by acts of kindness from strangers. That’s why we’re here, after all, to help others.”

Carol Burnett

How to Become Your Best Self

At the age of 25, Jim Rohn was down on his luck without a penny in his pocket. (Hmm… sounds familiar…) He was a hard worker, went to work early and stayed late. But no matter how hard he worked, he was still a broke joke. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was focusing his efforts on the wrong things. His life began to change when his mentor guided him with the phrase, “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job”. The Art of Exceptional Living

By striving for your best-self, you are living within the boundaries of the question, “How can I become more valuable?”

Life isn’t about what you do for money. I can become a great barista, (I’ll be the guy who can paint butterflies in lattes) but that shouldn’t completely define me as a person. If you think it does, you need to consider that maybe (just maybe) you are bigger than your job.

You are multifaceted and complex being.
Being a barista is part of who you have decided to be. If that doesn’t resonate with you anymore, perhaps its time to try something else.

And if you want to do and be multiple things — you’re allowed. Despite what society tells you. You can pursue all that you love, not all at once, but you are capable of stepping into something new (for work or fun) at any moment in your life. Colleges were originally created to make well-rounded citizens. The Renaissance Life is about enabling others to be all they can be and creating a community around pursuing life and mastery.

Life is about all the things that you do that make you into who you are. 
Just as Aristotle said so long ago, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

When you focus your time and energy improving yourself, you are creating your best-self life.

No one will improve you for you. You have to do that yourself.
I can show you how to play an instrument, but you are the one who has to pick it up and practice.

For the next odd sum of days, I’m going to be posting about the principles of living a Renaissance Life. To stay up to when the next post goes out, sign up for the newsletter here.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” — Jim Rohn

“Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.” — Jim Rohn

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” — Jim Rohn

 

Introducing Renaissance Ethos — A Path To Excellence, And Living Well

My mission in life

is to be a Renaissance Man

Mastery in multiple crafts (for me that’s music, design, coding, finances, entrepreneurship, fashion, wellness.. etc)

And pursing excellence in all that I do. (ha sounds easy right?)

My mission has led me to start the Renaissance Life, an extraordinary life of meaning and worthwhile.

The Renaissance Ethos,

is a focus on the spirit of a Renaissance Life.

It’s a series to help define and clarify what an extraordinary life is and what it takes to create it.

 

Excellence and Growth is the core of the Renaissance spirit.

However,  pursing an extraordinary life will not be easy (all great things aren’t),

we will be faced with many challenges and questions, such as

What is excellence? And how do we achieve excellence in all that we do?

How do we become our best selves — living towards our greatest potential, in the time we have been given?

But that’s okay, because we are in this together. We are a community.

We all have something we want to accomplish, or obstacles we must to face in our lives,

The Renaissance Life is about finding clarity, and meaning, so we can focus on what’s truly important — 

living

and impacting others.

Together we will start a movement — a new Renaissance — of change, and growth in our lives,  in the lives around us, and ultimately, the world.

Welcome to the Renaissance.

#KeepPursuing,

Josh Waggoner

You’ll notice there are no ads on the site. I HATE it when Blogs and Websites bomb you with Ads. It’s distracting and can be quite f-ugly. But… let’s face it, blogs cost money and time. Instead, I’m hoping that through your Donations, and by using Affiliate Recommendations (things I ACTUALLY use and are beneficial), Renaissance Life can thrive. Every donation will mean the world to me. Thank you.

Tell Your Story

We are all storytellers, (Once upon a time)

because we are all experiencers.

What we’re experiencing RIGHT NOW is a story we get to tell.

We may be living on cloud 11, or —

We may be crawling through some mud,

facing obstacles that seem impossible —

but not only can we persevere, we can thrive

remember,

Our life is our story; we write it how we wish,

through the actions we take. 

There will always be factors out of our control, battles to face, and failure to learn from,

but this is just spice to our story — trials and triumphs.

Besides, what’s life without a little CHALLENGE?

And the greatest part is stories are meant to be shared.

Your story affects my story, and vice versa.

What story will you tell?

related:

The Obstacle is the Way — Ryan Holiday

“Because storytelling, and visual storytelling was put in the hands of everybody, and we have all now become storytellers.” — Levar Burton

“Those who tell the stories rule society.” — Plato

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.” — Margaret Atwood

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?