My mother taught me never to give unsolicited advice, nor try to help anyone unless they ask you for it. I always thought that maybe she was just cold. As I get older, I have started to realize that she was right. My mother is one of the kindest people in my life.
Society always emphasizes on the need to help people. I do it too.
They tell you that you should help people unconditionally and when they least expect it. None of that is, of course, wrong.Random acts of kindness can change a persons life in many instances. However, there is a flip side to every coin. And it is essential not to mask the other half of the impact of any such gesture.
. But its also neither a great one. And here are the 3 cases where I personally stopped helping people and recommend that you should too:
Its not always an easy thing to do. We were taught helping people is the right thing to do. You need to unlearn this popular belief.
Start-up founders often ask to pick my brain. I realize how difficult it is to run a start-up, I run one myself. However, I have stopped offering my knowledge for free.
In the past, quite a lot of times people would invite me out for coffee just to pick my brain. If you have a few million dollars in the bank from VCs, rummaging through my brain for free is not acceptable, especially if you didnt even bother paying for my tea.
They dont understand that I have a family to feed, mortgages to pay, deadlines to meet. They dont realize that in order to make time for coffee, I would have to compensate for that lost time and stay up until 2 in the morning just to work.
If they dont think my time is worth any value, then I dont have time for them!
Now I simply tell people my hourly rate and take out my Square. Yes, its harsh, but it makes my life easier and I am happier for it. People take me more seriously. If someone cannot afford my advice, I usually give them another way to compensate for it.
Next time if someone asks you to speak at their conference for free, dont agree before you negotiate for the best deal. If they cannot afford you, ask for a free booth, time to promote your business or maybe free tickets to the conference. It will show whether they are serious about having you be present at their conference.
People will always try to exploit you if you allow them to.You dont have the time to help everyone, only help people who deserve your help.
Sometimes you have to be selfish and put yourself before anyone else. Ignore what society is urging you to do.
My biggest weakness is that I like to help people.
I help people, regardless of the fact that they asked for it or not. But you never know when that sort of philosophy could hurt you.
A former client of mine wasnt doing well. My team spent a few days analyzing all the data and trends to figure out what the problems were. That wasnt part of our retainer and I didnt bill them. We did it because we cared about the clients success. My team found some serious problems with the clients business model and strategy. We showed the client our findings, and they fired us on the spot.
We did something out of compassion for our client. We told the client what they didnt want to hear. We lost an account because we tried to help. And in the end, we made someone hate us for giving our professional opinion.
When I offer someone my help, I actually want to help. But a lot of the time, people are not ready to accept my help. It is normal. Everything takes time to change and most people dont want it.
You shouldnt offer advice when people are not prepared to entertain it, or they could one day come back and blame you when it doesnt work out for them.
I stopped helping people who dont want my help. Less drama, more time for myself.
This is the most critical one. Offering someone help when you are not ready to help is a big no-no. I have done this so many times, and until today I still regret doing it.
A few years ago, my parents were out of the country and asked me to look after their house. I dont know how to water the plants at all. Some of them I poured too much water and some I gave very little. A month later when my parents came back, all the plants had died. If I didnt offer to help, someone who knows how to take care of plants would have done it, and my fathers precious plants would be alive today. They never let me touch a plant again.
Offering help when you cant do a good job will do more harm than good. Its like being blind and teaching someone else how to paint. You make people miss the opportunities to find better help. Your kindness can hurt people too, in some instances. One of the easiest ways to destroy a relationship is by offering help that you cant deliver.
At the end of the day, everything can be good or bad. We all need to strive to find the right balance between the two.
Always think it through carefully, before you offer to help someone else. If you dont, it has the potential to cost you your time, your money and the relationships you hold dear to yourself (personal or professional).
A random act of kindness can change someones life, but it can also destroy one too.
If you help the wrong people, you can miss the opportunities to help the right people. Think before you help.
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