Considering Critical Questions about helping others. Reflection on standing out versus fitting in on the way to success.
What will I do when those around me no longer need (or want) (my/my brand of) help?
– Find others to help? Reevaluate “help” to provide others with what it seems they need?
What do I need (to be & to be capable of) in order to help?
– Expert, skilled, empathetic, willing.
How good do I need to be before I should try to help?
– Depends on the skill and doesn’t always apply. But I prefer being more than less skilled.
What should I do if it is I who no longer feels pulled to help?
– Among other questions, this begs the broad question: why help? Who needs help? How do we know? How do we (try to) ensure that we do more good than harm when we provide help (iatrogenics)? Not that these considerations would always stop us from try to do some good; but not all intervention results in help, regardless of intention.
I suspect that the answers to those questions will help focus my engagements this year. I’ve been beginning to fear that my efforts to help others may have been distracting me from making progress in the areas I need (i.e. career/skill development), regardless of the “good” things that may have happened (UD/UD relationships, friends inspired, opportunities shared, etc).
I wonder if I’m finally at that point where I’m wrestling with choices that those around me don’t understand; in the grand scheme of those who do great work despite their environments, maybe that’s a good thing. “No one ever kicks a dead dog“; “without critics, there is no art“; “You can fit in or stand out. Not both.” So all I know is that I’m onto something that by its nature makes my friends uncomfortable. I’m okay with that; I’ve been wondering, why don’t I know more successful people? Perhaps—probably—because they’ve been doing things that I haven’t. Those things that please everyone are, by definition, average. It follows that I should be doing things that me and most friends haven’t , in order to arrive at places previously uncharted. Being comfortable isn’t a requirement; being able to do try and do things is. Where are those areas where I should take time to help others understand, versus ask for trust? Past behavior and results are no match, it seems, for the predictable suspicions of human psychology.
One year from now, we’ll be a year older. Where do you want to be, and what will you do to get there?