The Best Kind Of Help…

There are a ton of ways to help people.

And you can never be sure which one is the best way to help them.

Someone might need food, you could buy them food. Someone doesn’t understand how to solve a problem, you can help them solve it. And so on..

But, again, what’s the best kind of help? What’s the best way to help someone who needs food? What’s the best way to help someone who has a problem but doesn’t know how to solve it?

 

I had a brief, but meaningful thought about ‘the best kind of help’. I think there are 2 main kinds of help:

Type 1: When you help someone based on what you think they need, utilizing your abilities to help them.

Type 2: When you help someone help themselves.

And there are other types too:)

Type 1 is needed a lot of the time, as there are things we all need help with that we have no idea about. Ideally, the person seeking help is crystal clear about what it is they need help with! This takes time to figure out too:) But it’s a lot easier for someone who wants to help you to know what you need help with.

In all humility, I think things can go awry with type 1 help, particularly in deeper, more personal matters. Someone helps you solve a problem you have, and that’s it, the ‘help’ is delivered. The person being helped gets the help they need, and move on. But they still remain ‘helpless’ in the matter they were helped with. For example, if someone didn’t know how to cook pasta, you could cook pasta for them to help them, but that person still doesn’t know how to make pasta!! They’ll continue to ask you for your help in making pasta. This kind of help creates a dependence between the person who is helping and the person who received the help, leading to an unhealthy relationship in the long term.

Type 2 is when you help someone help themselves. All the answers to all our problems (well, most of them) lie within us. So if you really want to help someone, why not help them help themselves, and solve their own problem, based on the insights and answers they have within themselves? That creates zero dependence and also leads to a more mutually beneficial outcome in the long run.

So basically, if your friend doesn’t know how to make pasta, don’t just always make the pasta for them. But, help them learn how they could learn to make pasta, and they’ll probably appreciate you more for it, having learned something new. Unless of course, they’re OK with never learning how to make Pasta and are happy to be ‘blindly lead’ by your help!

We all need a combination of Type 1 & Type 2 help but with Type 1, it would be in everyone’s favour if the helper declared by they’re delivering Type 1 help so the helper and the helped are in sync!

So: Help yourself, help another, help yourself help you, seek help to help yourself better and you’ll feel a lot more helpful than helpless!

Disclaimer: Don’t put yourself in jeopardy while trying to help. Look after yourself!

 

 

 

 

Commitment

Commitment requires one to be intentional about committing. It is a strong decision and requires courage and discipline. The reason why commitment can be hard to develop, is because we do not necessarily have all the information to make an informed decision to commit. This is because our brain is generally hard wired into minimising risk, and only making a decCommitmentision when we have all the information. However, in the real world, where we don’t always have all the information, this approach only breeds inaction.

On some reflection, I wanted to understand why we don’t always commit and how we can develop a mindset to commit. The things that stop us from committing to a certain path, business idea or life partner is uncertainty, a lack of self belief or a fear of committing to the ‘wrong’ path. But isn’t uncertainty always present around us? In the fast paced world we live in, where nothing is permanent, each act of ours carries with it a certain amount of uncertainty and risk. The trick is to understand the uncertainties and risks associated with a certain path, and commit when the upside could potentially be a lot greater than the downside. One should always ask, “whats the worst that can happen?” and ALSO ask ‘Whats the best that can happen?” when taking a course of action. Such questions allow us to commit to a certain action without necessary having all the information.

Without committing to a certain path, nothing gets done. To achieve something and do it well, you need to go all in, with all your heart. Whether it is a relationship, a business idea, a career path, whatever. Commitment is a sign of strong character and an ability that must be developed to make the best of life, and ensure we make decisions and move forward in life.

Pay As You Feel

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I have been Volunteering at Lentils as Anything, a Not for Profit restaurant that has the most amazing food ever. The food is made and served with love, and the best part- You Pay as you Feel.

I got thinking about the concept of ‘Pay as you Feel’ and how it can apply to business. Clearly, it relies on trusting customers to pay what they think the food is worth. The risk is that a customer pays $0, which happens all the time at a restaurant like Lentils.

I suggested a way to the Founder of Lentils, Shanaka Fernando, to optimise the potential of a ‘pay as you feel’ approach to business. There are 3 main ways of improving a customers willingness to donate:

a) Combining a Pay as you Feel Pricing Model with a Charitable Cause: This approach has been tested and documented in the book ‘Freakonomics’ where it was found that donating a certain amount of profits to a charitable cause and educating customers about this improved their willingness to contribute money.

b) Staff Members should educate customers about the values of the organisation and the ‘Pay as you Feel’ concept. It needs to become a habit, just like at McDonalds Staff members always ask ‘Would you like fries with that?” This can be done in a friendly and hospitable manner.

c) Not for Profits like Lentils can be transparent about their financial situation. This makes customers aware about the organisations financial successes and failures and induces them to donate to support the cause of the organisation, if they truly believe in it.

While the pay as you feel pricing model is clearly a risky one, it can offer significant benefits to a new start up, as opposed to offering discounts which can often be perceived negatively by customers. It might work particularly well in cases where you are a brand new start up, trying to win the trust of your first few customers, and later charge them when they become actual longer term customers.

It is certainly an interesting concept and one that intrigues me.