Help Others and Help Yourself

Do you know the fastest way out of a bad spot?  We can tell you, though you probably already know.  Have you guessed it yet? Come on, you know (hint-hint: it’s in the title); you just don’t want to say it.  But here’s a gentle reminder: 

The fastest way out of a bad spot is to help someone else out of theirs. 

As much as we would like too, we can’t take credit for this idea, but we most certainly can suggest it if you’re struggling.  Why? Because it works!  This has been tried and tested by millions of people over the centuries, and they discovered it truly is the quickest way from point A (the bad spot) to point B (where you want to be).

Perhaps Mark Snyder, the head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota, can help us understand why helping others helps us too.  He states that, “Helping others seems to run against the strong dynamics of self-interest…but higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness all seem to go up as people’s social connectedness goes up.” 

Many times when we find ourselves struggling, or in a bad place, it is because we’ve isolated ourselves in some way—a divorce, the loss of a partner, spouse, or dear friend, a relocation to an unfamiliar city due to a job—there are many reasons we can suddenly find ourselves alone.  But when we reach out to others in need we begin to rebuild our own community of friends and support, and by doing so,  of Individual and Society, .  Perhaps it was beyond our control  University of Minnesota we position ourselves for a breakthrough in our own lives.   

Sure, we have the prerogative of resisting this advice and going it alone, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  Author John Holmes put it this way, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” 

So true. 

2 thoughts on “Help Others and Help Yourself

  1. Thanks for posting this Dave. This is fascinating. Interesting to note that almost no one seems to be holding cellphones and most of the bikes have upright handlebars, which means pedestrians and riders are acutely aware of their surroundings. Watching this scene is more relaxing than watching fish in a fish tank. Why? It’s the middle of a workday and no one is rushing!

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