“We rise by lifting others.” —Robert Ingersoll
Last night, I was frustrated and perplexed. Behind the scenes (and sometimes not so behind-the-scenes), the server status for Becoming Minimalist was causing me trouble. I had tried a number of technical solutions, but each of them were unsuccessful in solving the issue.
Finally, on Saturday night, I sent out a tweet looking for some help. An old friend I haven’t talked to in years responded with an idea. He kindly walked me through a 5-10 minute solution. I was unbelievably grateful. He saved me hours of work.
This isn’t the first time I have received help from somebody on Twitter.
I actually started using Twitter years ago. I opened an account late one evening after noticing a bunch of traffic to my website from the social network. I figured if that’s where people were hanging out, maybe I should too.
One of the first people I started following was Chris Guillebeau on a whim after somebody recommended that I follow him. At the time, Chris had an interesting habit. His first tweet every morning was, “Good morning. How can I help today?”
I responded twice—once to draw attention to a blog post that was resonating with people and once to ask for help promoting a new book.
Both times, Chris obliged. And I have never forgotten it. Even to this day, 6 years later, I still remember Chris as the guy who offered and provided so much help to me when I needed it.
Of course, help has come from the non-digital world as well.
Just last month, I had a significant conversation with a friend in Miami about something exciting we are working on for The Hope Effect. The conversation began when she made a simple statement, “I want to know if I can help in any way.” Since then, we have met every two weeks hammering out specific ways her talent can be of assistance to us.
My short encounter yesterday reminded me that my past is chock–full of men and women who have offered to help me in any number of ways—sometimes when I was in desperation and sometimes when I just needed a little encouragement. But almost all of them I remember well. People who help us happen to stick around in our memory (and affections) for quite awhile.
But the benefit of helping others extends beyond the receiver.
The benefit of offering help also extends to the giver.
Four things stand out to me about people who help others. They display initiative, confidence, care, and capacity—all extremely positive characteristics. If you are lacking in any of these characteristics, offering to help somebody else can develop them in your life.
For example, you may think you don’t have any time in your life (capacity) to help others. But that might change once you discover how helpful you can be to someone who needs what you can offer—whether in a small way or a big way. Once you realize the joy you can bring to others by helping, you might find out that you had more time available than you thought.
You may lack confidence in your abilities… until you discover the countless ways you can enrich the lives of another. You may lack initiative in life… until you take the bold step to offer help and realize you had initiative all along.
When we offer to help someone else, they benefit. But so do we. Because helping others brings out many of the positive characteristics we desire to be true of us.