3 Vital Things to Consider when Trying to Help Someone

Helping people

“Do unto others as they would want done unto them.”--- Dave Kerpen’s Platinum rule

At the sight of the title of this article, you would probably ask, do I really need to consider anything before rendering help to someone? I expect such surprise. One thing you should know is that helping people is not as easy as it seems. There are things you must put into consideration before you go ahead to render help to anyone.


If you take a deep reflection on how people have made effort to help you in the past, you would found out that there are certain offers you didn’t appreciate. Your not appreciating such offer is not because you are an ingrate, but because it is not a solution to the problem you were facing at that time.

Anytime you want to lend a helping hand to someone, try to consider the following:


1. Find out what the person need or want to achieve:  

The greatest mistake you can ever make when trying to help someone is to bash into their life, make some observations and conclude based on your assumptions that you know what their problems are. It can be very annoying for someone to think he knows better how you should live your life, no matter how genuine their interest in your success is.

To avoid falling into such trap, learn to ask question from the person you want to help. Find out the person’s challenges and see how you can come in. People will only appreciate your offer for help when your offer serves as a significant solution to a core problem in their life. Help people the way they want to be helped not by how you think you should help them.

Sometimes, you may be thinking of giving someone money to accomplish a project when all that the person needs from you is positive affirmation, advice and encouragement. If all you do is giving money, the person may not fully appreciate your help.

The bottom-line here is that, you shouldn’t assume you know what somebody’s problem is, make effort to hear from them.


2. Never think your opinion is superior to their own opinion or decision: 

People do things for certain reasons which are best known to them. When you try to impose your own opinion on whoever you are trying to help, they would rarely see you as a helper but an abuser of their human right and intelligence. Your opinion even when taken by them may never give them fulfillment.

I will illustrate this using romantic relationship. Let us assume you are in love with a lady and intend to marry her. Then you decide to take her to see your parents. She spends a couple of days with your parents and left. After her departure, your parents objected your decision to marry her based on some sentiments that are important to them but inconsequential to you.

Really, they want the best for you, and want to help you, but because it is never in your interest, you will never see it as a help. That is exactly what happens when anytime you want to impose your own idea of what is good and ideal on someone you want to help. Such help in most cases will always boomerang. It is not that the person doesn’t appreciate your offer, but it is because you have not helped the person the way he wanted to be helped.

However, if you are very certain that the person is acting in ignorance; your job is to educate him. Let him know the pros and cons of his decision. If he’s truly enlightened, he would do what is right. Don’t and never blindly insist that someone should do something you think will be helpful to them without their own conviction of doing so.

Do not impose your idea; no matter how good you think it is. Don’t forget that one man’s food is another man poison.


3. Always choose encouragement over criticism: 

One of the ways we render help to others is by motivating them to accomplish their goal using the power of words. There are two ways to get this done, encouragement and criticism. It is always good to choose encouragement over criticism, and if criticism should be employed at all, it must be a constructive one.

When using encouragement, it is important to recognize the person’s effort, appreciate the progress the person has made and help him to see rational reasons why he should and can do more. Motivate him if possible. This approach works for most people. It boosts people’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

When people employ criticism, the focus is on the person’s weakness, on things he fails to do right and how suck the person’s efforts has been. If the person you are trying to help in this manner has the problem of self-doubt, lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem, your criticism will do more harm to him than good. Though you are trying to help him, he will hate you for doing so. Although you think you are helping him, but what you are actually doing is that you are destroying him.

Your desire to see people succeed and do things right may never materialized, because instead of pushing them forward with encouragement, you are paralyzing them with criticism.

Exception

It is important to know that these rules don’t apply to helping someone who is not in a state of consciousness or people who are not mentally conscious enough to help themselves. Example include people who are helpless in an accident scene or dying in condition where they can’t help themselves.

Do these two things for me

1. Keep this conversation going by sharing your thoughts on this post.

2. If you found this post interesting, help your friends by sharing it with them on social media.

Thanks for visiting.



SHARING IS CARING.



32 comments:

  1. Hi Taiwo,

    Great advice! Anyone who knows me will tell you I would bend over backwards to help them in a time of need. My problem has been indiscriminately helping people and as such I've often been taken advantage of. Usually when trying to help people I've usually let them come to me at which point I usually try and help them clear a path by offering clear solutions. Thank you for the great read!

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    1. Hi Richard,
      I understand how easy it is for people to take advantage of one's good gesture when we go about helping people indiscriminately. However, I don't buy into the idea of helping people only when they come to you for help. Sometimes, some needs are obvious, and it isn't a bad idea to ask if we could be of help. I think that means been caring.
      Thanks for your great contribution.

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    2. I totally agree with some needs being obvious Taiwo - however sometimes knowing when not to ask is also wise, some people are too proud to help. By asking sometimes it can hurt their pride and do damage to their ego. How do you help people like that? My answer is you help them anonymously without any expectation of return - this is altruism. Another reason to allow people to ask you for help is so they can learn the strength to ask for help. By asking them you can make them become dependent upon you for help. When someone has to ask it teaches them a great many things and it shouldn't be so easily dismissed. I did enjoy reading your article I just wanted to point out that we also need to let people ask for help as well.

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    3. Richard, with the explanation you stated here, I now understand your points better. I agree with the possibility of someone getting hurt when approached to be helped due to his ego. It is also very true that when we go out of our way to ask for help, we would value what we asked for if granted and learn so many things in the process. Thanks for contributing to this conversation.

      Delete
  2. Awesome advice Taiwo! I'm an avid volunteer and have chaired 3 county food drives so I know from firsthand experience that your advice is (as they say) on the money. One of the best examples I've encountered was a man I observed who was asking for donations because he was out of work. I approached him and introduced myself and then we talked for awhile and I discovered that he'd been hit with a double crisis - medical bills from a sick child and he'd been laid off work. I was able to connect him with an agency that could help and within 6 months he was working again and his family were in recovery mode. Later than same year he was a guest speaker at the kick-off four our county food drive where he talked about his experience. It was so wonderful to see the system make a difference!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Marquita,
      What a great story!
      This story drives home the key message of my post.
      Thanks for adding value to this conversation using your personal experience.

      Delete
  3. We often make an assumption of what someone who does not have the same things as us is in need of. It is not really a fair thing to do. I think the advice of asking them is right on point.

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    1. Hi Dr Elise,
      Your message is a perfect summary of my post.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  4. Great advice Taiwo! encouragement over criticism is something that we all should follow.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Sonal,
      Your assertion is on point. For most people, encouragement is more empowering than criticism.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  5. Great advice helping is sometimes just about listening to what the person needs

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    1. Hi Amber,
      You are very correct.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  6. Hello Taiwo, The world would be a much better place if we all just listened more HUH? Thank you so much for the Awesome tips! Chery :))

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    Replies
    1. Hi Chery,
      Thanks for adding to this conversation.

      Delete
  7. Hi Taiwo,

    Sage advice.

    Like, Richard, I used to try helping people indiscriminately. Yet was often disappointed with the mess that sometimes ensued.

    When we take responsibility for our own lives, we soon realize other people deserve the same consideration of living their lives without our meddling.

    I'm very hesitant in offering help, even when I 'think' I could make a difference. On the other hand, I still help when I can - without assuming, or following my agenda. Good post, thanks,
    Edward

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    1. Hi Edward,
      Thanks for adding valuable information to this conversation.

      Delete
  8. Taiwo,
    Such a beautiful article. Helping people is not as easy as you might think. I agree.
    I liked "Learn to ask questions from the person you want to help. Help people the way they want to be helped not by how you think you should help them" Listening to people and then adding what help they need from you. "People will only appreciate your offer
    for help when your offer serves as a significant solution to a core problem in their life." This is sage advice for all people, great for coaches. Great post! Sharing.

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    1. Hi Kathryn
      I am glad to see your comment.
      In your comment, you did a perfect summary of the entire post.
      Thanks for adding meaning to my post.

      Delete
  9. I think the best way to help people is, as you and other commenters have said, is to listen. If you feel you have to help, then at least ask them "What can I do for you?" so that they get the help they want, not the meddling of a "do-gooder". Great article!

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    1. Hi Ruth,
      Thanks for adding value to this conversation.

      Delete
  10. Someone have challenges of life doesn't mean an outsider knows him better than himself. Its our assignment to master ourself its not others people business.

    But when someone like an adult, friends, neighbours and people as a whole, want to render help. they often think their advice is vital or superior. Which aren't true.

    What they should do is to give a suggestion and advice, it is left for the person to follow the advice.

    We all need a help in one way or the other, but someone rendering the help must done it genuinely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gbemileke,
      I can see you have a good understanding of the point I emphasized in this post. People shouldn't impose what they think would help the person they intend to help, but rather should follow the victim's leading. No one knows us more than we know ourselves.
      Thanks for adding value to this conversation.

      Delete
  11. Hi Taiwoe,

    Your post reminded me of a time recently when we asked a young women whom I had just met how I can help her. She went on to tell us that she wanted us to help by coming to pick up her elderly grandmother and take her for her medical visits three times a week. She could not do this herself due to her work schedule. She became angry when I suggested several community agencies that she could contact for that type of assistance. That was my way of helping. I prefer telling people how I am willing to help than asking them because I do have limits.

    By the way, “Do unto others as they would want done unto them” originated in the bible (Luke 6:31), not from Dave Kerpen ;)

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    1. Hi Rachel,
      I am glad to see your comment. It is not a bad idea to let people know how you can help them, but that should be after you have known what their problems are.When you know their challenges, then you can suggest to them ways you could be of help. If they are pleased with your offer, they will gratefully accept it, and if otherwise, they might turn it down.
      I like your observation of the quote I used at the beginning of this post. The quote is not the same as what is written Luke 6:31.
      Luke 6:31 states that," And just as you want men do to you, you also do to them likewise." This verse is what is popularly known as the golden rule, " Do unto others as you want them to do unto you."
      Dave Kerpen observed that it is not wise to apply the golden rule in all cases. The reason is because it not everyone one that like to be treated in the same way. What you like might be what someone else hate, just like they say, one man's food is another man's poison.
      So Dave kerpen came up with what he called the platinum rule, "Do unto others as they would want done unto them." It means you should find out people's likes and dislikes and treat them accordingly, unlike the golden rule which encourages you to treat others based on your own likes and dislike. You can verify the platinum rule on google for more clarity.
      Thanks for adding value to this conversation.

      Delete
  12. Hi Taiwo,
    A very important post you've shared here. Always treat others with respect. No one is better than someone else - we just have different life experiences. Which we can learn from! From my experience it's always best to be supportive. Support and encouragement generates ideas, success, and motivation. Very powerful. Wonderful suggestions :-)

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    1. Hi Lesly,
      Your comment is very thoughtful. Thanks for adding value to this conversation.

      Delete
  13. Your first requirement, to find out what that other person wants, is most important to me. I hate people trying to help me based on a few words I have said. For example, if I say I need help with a web site they need to first learn that I am highly experienced online and have built many of my own web sites. If they suggest a person with basic knowledge, I may know more than that person and that is certainly not the kind of help I might be seeking. Or when people try to sell me a product I have no interest in or a training about a topic I have already studied in depth. It is such a relief when someone first asks to understand what I really want, not what they think I should want or need.

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    1. Hi Dr.Erica,
      I am glad you have a good understanding of the essence of this post. Your comment is a sharp summary of the entire article. Thanks for adding value to this conversation.

      Delete
  14. Hi Taiwo,

    What great advice you have given us. Reading this, it reminds me of how I interact with my coaching business. 1. Find out what the person needs or wants to achieve. That is the most important thing we can do for another person. We never know a person until we walk in their shoes. So, we have to ask questions to find out that exactly are they trying to accomplish. We have to really dig deep with that person, instead of assuming.

    2. Never think your opinion is superior. It is just crazy to have that mindset. We are all equal and unique. We must respect that in all life. Once we have grasped that understanding we can treat others with the respect deserved.

    3. Always choose encouragement over criticism is great to do. Then when you get to know the person a bit better explain how "constructive criticism" will help.

    Awesome post!

    -Donna

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    1. Hi Donna,
      You just did a sharp summary of this post. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      Delete
  15. So if i know exactly what a particular person(frd) needs are, u suggesting i ask first

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    1. Hi Funso,
      I am glad to see your comment here.
      You see, if you think you know your friend's need without him telling you, then what you think you know is an assumption. Assumption is the lowest level of knowledge. It is good to ask your friend to be sure, even when you think you know his need.
      Thanks.

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