If you help others, they will help you back.
Sounds obvious, right? Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a eye-opening realization of how important helping others actually is. No action, no matter how small, is without its effect on those around you. People may forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Behind every successful individual is a vast network of people who support them.
Everyone needs help at some point in their lives. Everyone also has the ability to help in someway or another.
My Grade 7 Health teacher said something that still sticks with me today:
It takes a lot of energy to make someone else feel bad, and in the end, you only feel good for a little while. When you make someone else feel happy, not only are you happy too, but that feeling lasts much longer.
That’s a good way to think of things when we address issues such as bullying and discrimination. With our words and actions, we have the ability to both harm and help others. It can get tiring quickly when you’re intentionally directing time towards degrading others to elevate your own position. It’s what leads to shouting insults, fist-fights, and causing unnecessary drama.
Instead, treating others with empathy is the best way to gain respect from your peers. Offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or words of advice. This is how you build healthy relationships that are founded on mutual trust rather than conflict. You can never really know what problems that other people are facing, and sometimes the simple act of being there for them is powerful. They will remember it, even if you think it was no big deal.
How do our actions really affect others?
There is a great TED Talk by Drew Dudley where he tells a story of his lollipop moment.
On his last day at University, a woman approached him and thanked him for something that happened 4 years ago. It turns out that during her first day at University, she decided that she wanted to quit. Just then, Drew came out “wearing the stupidest hat I have ever seen in my life… It was awesome.”
Drew was handing out lollipops to people in line. When he got to her, her parents got a severe look on their face and said: “Look at that, look at that. First day away from home and already she’s taking candy from a stranger!”
Everyone around them erupted in laughter.
She said: “In that moment when everyone was laughing, I knew that I shouldn’t quit. I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I knew that I was home. I haven’t spoken to you once in the 4 years since that day, but I heard that you were leaving. I had to come up and tell you that you’ve been an incredibly important person in my life and I’m going to miss you. Good luck.”
Drew asks the audience: “How many of you guys have a lollipop moment? A moment when someone said something or did something you feel fundamentally made your life better?”
Several people raised their hands.
He continued: “How many of you have told that person they did it?”
Even fewer people raised their hands.
He goes on to explain that we have all helped others in some way, we just haven’t been told yet. We believe that leadership is something that’s greater than us, that we’re not worthy of being called a leader. So we dismiss the special lollipop moments where we are a leader. The fact that such a small act can have such a significant impact is frightening.
He quotes Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it’s that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.”
It’s a profound message: the realization of the amount of power we have to change the lives of others for the better.
It is the “Good morning.” The friendly smile. The holding of the door for someone else. It is giving compliments. It is highlighting other’s strengths, not weaknesses. It is encouraging people to be themselves. It is caring about the minorities. It is about late night talks about life. It is listening to rants about everything. It is giving up time to help those in need.
All these things add up.
You may not know it, but people appreciate when you help them. It motivates them to be better people. Even after the person has finished a lollipop, they still have that sweet taste in their mouth. Instead of being bitter, they now strive for sweetness. Before you know it, that person is now handing out lollipops to other people, just like you are.
If you haven’t already checked out my previous blog about “The Importance of Motivation,” you can find it here: http://www.youthareawesome.com/importance-of-motivation/
DFTBA! (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!)