Why should we help others?

Should we help others for their sake, or for our own sake?

Jack Welch in his famous autobiographical book, ‘Straight from the Gut’ recalls an interesting incident on how he learned to play Golf effectively, and even win minor tournaments.

He says, that he was struggling with the game for quite some time. But after a while, his wife too wanted to play the game and she asked him to tutor her. He agreed and started teaching her.

While teaching his wife, he noticed few mistakes she was making and was suggesting techniques to correct them. What he also noticed was that, he too was making the same mistakes!

He says that he noticed things about himself (by teaching his wife) that he wasn’t able to, all the while when he was playing alone. He used that knowledge to perfect his own game and with some practice went on to win a few small tournaments!

Verghese Kurien started out helping farmers and their cooperative movement as an engineer who had some knowledge with technical machinery, but then went on to create the biggest cooperative in India – Amul.

In my own job, when we were positioning a network solution to a big (new) probable customer in Tamil Nadu, they asked us if a similar survey/solution could also be positioned in their Gujarat establishment. Normally in such situations, the organizational culture is to not help other state colleagues, as there is always competition between the various states.

Irrespective of what people thought, I went ahead and gave the lead to my Gujarat counterpart who started working on it. As it turned out, this became an important factor in us winning the deal because the senior management of this company was in Gujarat and our joint bidding was seen as a huge plus.

Have you noticed it? When we help others, we gain both insight and skills. Insight into a process that we would have never otherwise had, and skills that could help us do our own jobs better.

Any experience is good experience, and even a professional learns a lot by just attempting to help an amateur or teaching them. The simple questions that they ask about a topic that we think we have mastered, will completely blow our minds away and enable us to think in certain angles that we never considered before!

Of course, we make some good friends in the process.

The unfortunate trend in work places and even educational institutions to suppress what we know, and laughing at people who help others prompted me to write this post. Of course, giving money to others is not helping them – At best, its spoiling them.

What do you think of this topic? Have you come across an experience where you started helping some one and you gained as much as that person did?

Destination Infinity

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20 Replies to “Why should we help others?”

    1. Giving back? Most of the time we are indebted to so many others who have helped us…. So, I guess helping people back is only our duty…

      Destination Infinity

  1. A few years back, I was going in my car in a relatively empty road. It was evening time. I had bought the car recently and did not know much about tyre changing.
    While driving, I saw an elderly lady standing near her stationary car. I stopped my car and enquired her as to what happened. She said her tyre got punctured. I offered her help and she seemed happy.
    I immediately started to place the jack under the car, when she reminded me to loosen the tyre bolts first. That was a lesson to me.
    So an offer of help to an elderly lady, taught me a lesson that you need to loosen the bolts of the tyre before putting the jack.
    A nice topic you have blogged about. A point worth pondering.

  2. Very true. I would debug code for my classmates always, even though I was done with mine. It was helpful to me in lot of ways, since I would never do those mistakes while coding myself. Helping others is always rewarding.

    1. There are people who know how to do things, but don’t help out even when we ask them. Sadly these guys get the first ranks… Makes me re-wonder what kind of education/ evaluation system we have!

      Destination Infinity

    1. We know you help others a lot. We need to learn from people like you, really. But the world is filled with few people who don’t help even when asked. Or will cheat when we ask them for help. This post would be an eye opener for their tribe.

      Destination Infinity

  3. In the ideal world, you are right. But it does not always work. If everyone thinks like you, that is good but only a few are noble like you. I am stating harsh reality of the world. People seek help and then take complete credit for the work that others have done.

    1. Thats pretty dangerous – taking credit for the work done by others. Its a sure shot ticket for falling down from 30 feet, instead of falling down from 3 feet!

      I do agree that there are certain people who don’t deserve to be helped. But if we refrain from helping at all because of these people, we will miss out the genuine ones.

      Destination Infinity

  4. Great post! I feel happy if I am able to help others in any small way. If I have second thoughts and refrain from offering help, I keep brooding later on, cursing myself.

    In my life, many unknown people have helped me and I am trying my best to be useful to people, who needs help.

    1. I somehow feel that sometimes we should also refrain from help certain type of people who have no sensitivity towards people who offered help to them. There are people like that.

      Destination Infinity

      1. Ask me! We have helped some people without their asking and they comment now, ‘did we ask for help? They offered and why should we be obligated to them?’ They don’t show even normal courtesy nowadays! This attitude makes our nature rough/rude.

        I seem to have written only one post ‘Blue mug’!

        1. Some people even laugh at us for helping them (not immediately, but after some time). But for every person like that, we have nice people as well… I am happy about that. Now Foto Friday has come 🙂

          Destination Infinity

    1. Intellectual help is perhaps the most important help. Helping others with information with which they can help themselves, is the best.

      Destination Infinity

  5. “The unfortunate trend in work places and even educational institutions to suppress what we know, and laughing at people who help others… ”

    How true this is. Thankfully it has not stopped me from helping others whenever I can. (touchwood!) And somehow, I too get help from the most unexpected people (and of course friends too!). So I (or we ) are not alone 🙂

    1. Bloggers seem to be different and perhaps have some common traits. Thats why I prefer this medium to the offline world.

      Destination Infinity

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