Do you want to help the world and make a difference?
Or do you want to help yourself first?
Wanting to help the world and make it a better place is a noble cause of course.
I have a lot of respect for all people who sincerely want to do this.
At the same time, I believe in utilitarianism and I look at helping the world from a practical perspective.
Results are more important than just your intention.
Although it is not to be ignored, it’s not the intention to improve something around you which I think is the most valuable. It is the actual results you produce which matters the most.
You will find this to be especially true if you look at it from the perspective of the people who need the help. Your intention is not of much use to them if you can’t really help them and provide something of true value in their lives.
For them, it’s about their needs, not about your intention.
With this in mind, I encourage you to think about three things that few people think about before jumping to help the world:-
1. Accept That Your Helping Power is Limited
It is your ability to actually improve something around you, to actually help, measured by nothing else but the practical positive results you can create in a given period of time.
Your helping power is a reflection of your knowledge, skills and attitudes.
When they think about their helping power, many people discover that although like all human beings they can always find ways to help, they can’t really create extraordinary results and make it happen on a large scale.
They can donate some money for a cause, do some low skilled volunteer work and that’s kind of it.
If you want to have a high impact on things in this world, realising this can be pretty frustrating.
2. Put Your Own Self-Growth First
There is a way out of this situation: in order to help the world in a big way, you need to increase your helping power. And for this, you have to improve yourself in the first place.
In other words, you need to help yourself before you help the world.
Helping yourself can mean a lot of things:
- Saving money to get some quality education;
- Tacking various classes and getting various degrees;
- Going to trainings, workshops and seminars;
- Focusing on your job and advancing as a professional;
- Reading books and applying the knowledge in them;
- Taking care of your health and your vitality.
All of these are ways through which you develop your knowledge, skills and attitudes. Thus, you improve your ability to help others, by turning your potential into real power.
Many of the people in my social circle are trainers and coaches. Some of them have spent years and huge sums of money to learn and to become really good in their fields.
Now when they want to help others, they do so by offering free training or coaching to various people or organisations.
Since they are outstanding trainers and coaches, the impact they have and the added value they bring in this manner is mind blowing.
3. Learn to Say NO to Helping Others
The biggest challenge is this: in order to increase your helping power, you need to initially focus more of your time, energy and money on you, and less on other people.
This means that sometimes you will have to say no to helping others, so you can grow and in the end be able to help them even better.
I find this to be really hard for many people who are so eager to help that they give most of their resources to others. They are always doing something for someone else, but not for themselves. They help all the time, but they never grow.
There is this distinction I often make called empathy vs. sympathy, which I believe to be particularly relevant here.
It’s always good to care about others and understand their feelings (empathy), but it’s not always good to actually help them (sympathy).
Counter-intuitively, if you want to make things happen on a large scale, you often need to not help others but instead focus on improve yourself instead.
I know that emotionally this can be hard, but it is a worthy thing to do. When you are properly equipped to help the world in a big way, then you will find your contribution much more meaningful.
And for good reason: you will be helping this world like no one else.
This is a guest post from Eduard Ezeanu, who is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. He helps others to improve people skills they find relevant and get top notch results. He also writes on his blog, People Skills Decoded.
Image courtesy of Juan Guzman