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7 Ways You Can Be Helpful Today

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7 Ways You Can Be Helpful Today

There are two kinds of people in this world.

There are those who will only do exactly what’s expected of them, and wait for a task to be assigned before acting. And then there are those who are always on the lookout for ways to contribute and make life easier for others. It is this second group that is more likely to make and sustain positive relationships, which are the backbone of a fulfilling personal and professional life.

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Whether the person in front of you has just lost a loved one or is just having a tension-filled week, certain approaches will be more genuinely helpful than others. Some ideas:

1. Listen to the Person Talk

Sometimes, the help that is actually needed will be different than the help you initially think to provide.  The best way to determine what to offer is to be a good listener.  The more the other person talks to you about what’s going on, the more targeted your assistance will be.

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2. Suggest Something Specific

People who are under a lot of stress are not always thinking clearly.  So when you ask them “how can I help?” they might not know what to tell you.  And if you say “if you need anything, feel free to ask,” chances are good they will not call you because they don’t want to impose.  Therefore, it’s better to make a recommendation such as taking their place at an administrative meeting or picking their child up from school.

3. Help Them See the Positive Side

When someone suffers a setback at work, the tendency is to believe that their career is over and that they will never feel good about their job again.  In a case like this, it can be useful to point out the good that might result from such a development, like the chance to explore a new opportunity or learn an important skill.  Note that the “pep talk” tactic is not appropriate if someone has suffered a human loss (i.e. death, divorce).

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4. Don’t Keep Score

Practice giving freely of yourself without expecting anything in return.  And definitely do not keep track of what you’ve done for others in comparison to what they’ve done for you.  Even if you keep the information to yourself, you won’t feel as good about the interaction, and this will probably show.

5. Be Sincere In Your Giving

If you really don’t want to do something, don’t offer.  It is obvious to the other person when you are helping them under duress, and adding guilt and discomfort to their plate is the last thing they need.  Giving sincerely also means doing so kindly and without strings or ulterior motives.

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6. Don’t Be More Trouble Than You’re Worth

Once you agree to a task, do it promptly, accurately, and without having to be reminded.  A stressed-out person would rather do it themselves than constantly worry about whether or not you are going to come through.

7. Reach Out to a Stranger

When my daughter was born prematurely last year, several people I’d never met before brought dinner to our house.  I will never forget it.  Helping co-workers, friends and family members in times of need is always appreciated, but it’s especially meaningful to provide assistance to those outside your circle.

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(Photo credit: Lifebuoy via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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