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

We Are in the People Business.

People are your business.

No matter what type of business, brand, product or passion you’re selling, people are your business. Focus on the individuals, not the follow count. Every ideal customer client or follower are real people with real problems and passions. When they become only a number to you — to further yourself — you’ve lost the reason why you do what you do, and the ability to create true impact.

100k followers on your social network of choice means nothing.

But 100k individuals seeking expertise or your personal story means everything.

It’s funny how a few words and a little shift in perspective changes your entire way of thinking. The hard part is being 100% honest with yourself: Are you just looking for numbers instead of seeking to teach and help others? Then maybe that’s the reason why you’re not getting anywhere. But when you focus on helping others with real problems their facing, then the rest will take care of itself. Mastery, wealth, influence, meaning… these are a by-product of putting people first.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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related insights

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” — Les Brown

“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

Principle #1: Become a Lifelong Learner

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” — Pele

Lifelong learning is the foundational principle of believing there is always room to learn something new and improve in things you love. When we start thinking we have nothing else to learn, we begin to plateau and eventually will feel stuck. 

What you pursue is up to you! I love music, writing, design, entrepreneurship, connecting, ideas, psychology, and health and wellness to name a few dozen. 

High performers know there is always the next level — 

Someone who can teach you more and something new.
Something you can practice to hone your skills.
Even something you can create and experiment with to expand what you think, and what the world thinks is possible!

Mastery isn’t an end state; Mastery is a mindset. A mindset that begins with becoming a lifelong learner.

Now, there are two polar extremes that are easy to fall into, (believe me, I’ve been there) which GO AGAINST the learning principle:

1. “I am not enough” “I will never be enough”
2. “Lifelong learning is too long, too hard and too overwhelming. I need results ASAP!:

1. False Belief: “I Am Not Enough”
 

This is a limiting belief that is holding you back. Perhaps a family member or teacher told you this (or implied it). They don’t know anything. They don’t know you. They don’t know what you are capable of. The person that creates your self-worth is YOU. I’m here to tell you, YOU ARE ENOUGH. If you get one thing from this post it’s that. You are enough. Learning isn’t about fulfilling a hole in your life of not being enough. Learning is the mutual belief that you are enough WHILE knowing, with a little bit of elbow grease, you can be more, do more and have a more impactful life.

In other words, learning is one of the keys to unlocking a meaningful life.

The more you know, the more capable you become, the more people will desire your help.

 

2. False Belief: “Lifelong learning is too long, too hard and too overwhelming. I need results ASAP!”

Pursuing a life of learning doesn’t mean it’s going to take you a lifetime to reach greatness in what you do. You will immediately start seeing results from learning and challenging yourself. Even a single day of learning means you know and are more capable than you were yesterday! Learning compounds by how much you practice and who you surround yourself with. The longer you stick with it the more you will accomplish.

So what does lifelong learning look like in practice?

Lifelong learning in practice

Read A Little Every Day.

Create a habit of consuming quality input of work from the wisdom of our ages. When I want to learn something new, the first thing I do is go to Amazon and see if there are any good books on the subject.

Try adding books that feel outside of your abilities too. Expand your mental muscles a little each day!

Find People/Mentors Who Can Push Your Mind and Fill You with Insights

I used to falsely think it was better to learn without imitating others. I would deliberately not read books or learn songs on guitar because I DIDN’T WANT THEIR WORK TO CHANGE MY VOICE.

I D I O T. 

Everything we do since birth is infused with imitation! The greatest ideas are ones that come from other’s ideas and create connections in a unique way.

Share What You Learn

Find friends who love what you love.
Teach what you know.
Create your own community around the skills you are learning to master.

Lifelong learning is your first principle to mastering your life.

Q: What are you going to learn?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” — Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein

Who Am I Helping?

Before you start,

before you put out your newest post or product or service,

ask yourself ‘Who Am I helping?’

Our output is cyclical.

Meaning, what we do can enable and initiate other’s work.

If your output is not helping anyone — or even yourself — then you’ve missed the point of creating (of IDEATION)

We are enablers

The magic of IDEATION is we have the opportunity to enable change and embetterment each time we release something into the wild +

We must create to improve and to make more beautiful or useful, rather than create for fame or financial gain.

Will my blog post today help someone? Will connecting with this person enable opportunities for us? Will this photo bring good into the world?

What are you working on? Who are you helping?

Go Create Something Brilliant — Josh Waggoner

“If you want your life to get better, sometimes the best thing you can do is to help improve somebody else’s life.” — Joel Osteen

Write Your Own Story — The Renaissance Life Model

What’s the model I follow to pursue a Renaissance Life?

Decide who I want to be,

— who I am, what’s important to me, the traits / virtues I want, what I want to do.. all leading towards the best I can be) 

— who I want to be is a decision I make.

Take daily action steps towards being the best me,

— do what I can, stay consistent, and think long term over short term 

— Remember that you make your own change (You Are Your Own Renaissance)

And resolve to pursue excellence and mastery in all that I do,

— even through hard day’s, challenges, pain and obstacles I may face 

Always with the goal of impact in mind.

— On my life, other’s lives, and the world 

 

We can’t control our entire life, but we can shape it by our models of thinking.

To be who we want to be, we must write our own story.

 

related:

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” — Marianne Williamson

 

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius

 

 

#KeepPursing,

Josh Waggoner

‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’  Email me (josh@renaissancemanlife.com) your thoughts on this post. Can you reduce the essential idea further?

Arrogantly Brilliant

We can be brilliantLa crème de la crème

but if we make everyone around us feel like idiots,

then we are not actually brilliant, we are arrogant.

Brilliance comes by helping others and lifting them higher,

not by lifting ourselves higher.

The smartest people are smart because they make others feel smart.

Everyone else is stupid. 😉

related:

People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.

— John C. Maxwell

#KeepPursuing,
xoxo Josh Waggoner

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