Help or Harm

Anyone who attains a minimal level of success or even a
degree of enlightenment understands that there is no true
and lasting achievement without helping others and making a
difference in the world around you. While most everyone
would agree on the fact that they want to help others, the
act of helping another person is not as easy to identify as
you might think.

Abraham Lincoln said, “The worst thing you can do for anyone
you care about is anything that they can do on their own.”
People who are given things, opportunities, and solutions
without earning or paying for them often are harmed more
than they are helped. Wealth without work, position without
effort, and remedy without resource is seldom positive in
the long run.

The majority of lottery winners are in worse financial
condition five years after their winning number is called
than they were before playing the lottery. They suffer a
much higher divorce rate and instance of drug abuse and

At some point in life, all mature people learn that actions
have consequences — either good or bad. The sooner we can
learn this lesson, the more productive and peaceful life we
will have. If you shelter a child from all consequences of
their decisions, you may protect them temporarily from a few
bumps or scrapes.

Unfortunately, you may relegate them to making a poor
decision during a life or death situation. We all need to
learn that the stove is hot–one time–the hard way. From
then on, we are cautious around stoves and begin to consider
the consequences of other decisions.

Any study of successful people in our society will reveal a
disproportionate number of underprivileged immigrants
achieving great success in a relatively short period of
time. There is nothing innate about financial struggles,
language barriers, and cultural challenges that make people
succeed. It is simply that enduring problems and overcoming
barriers is a habit that, once learned, carries over into
every area of our lives.

That person that turned you down for help may have done you
the greatest favor of all. Self-reliance and independence
are critical parts of succeeding in life. All of us have
received a hand up at one time or another, and hopefully
have offered the same to those coming along behind us; but
it is important to be sure that we are helping and not
harming those that we care about.

As you go through your day today, look for ways to assist
others, and eliminate any harm you’re doing by trying to
help in ways people can perform on their own.

Today’s the day!

by Jim Stovall