Tuesday, November 30, 2004

What Can I Do For You?

Perhaps one mentality that I have which differentiates me from most people is that I often think of "what can I do for the other person" whenever I meet them. Don't get me wrong, I don't have this mentality because I'm innately altruistic. It probably stems from the fact that I'm insecure and for the longest time, I didn't have friends, let alone a best friend (and even until now, I still don't have a best friend... will you please be my friend?). So there's a constant need for me to prove myself to other people, as if they'd stop being my friend if I stopped being helpful.

While perhaps this is far from the best self-image a person should have, maybe having the "what can I do for you" mentality isn't so bad. I mean when it comes to customer service, for example, you should have that mentality. When it comes to helping other people, that kind of mentality sure beats the "I'm only doing it for the publicity or to impress someone who's watching". And when it comes to meeting new people, well, "what can I do for you" is better than "what can the other person do for me". People can sense the difference, after all. They can detect whether you're out to befriend them because of who they are or because of what they can do for you. "What can I do for you" is a radical step. Instead of withholding your friendship and trust from the other person until they prove themselves worthy, you're the one that offers trust and friendship, assuming that they're worthy people to begin with. And in a way, that's logical. I mean we logically assume that people are trustworthy; we don't expect the other person to lie (although we do get lied to often). Perhaps by taking the initiative to extend this kind of trust and faith in the other person, the other person becomes worthy of it, and they in turn offer their trust to us. An example of this is when I offer to loan my books to people. I love my books; I don't want them to get ruined. But I also want them to be read by other people. So I offer to loan them the books that I have. And I'm personally surprised when they're surprised that I'm willing to loan them a book. People are suddenly disarmed. It's because I trust them. And they, in turn, suddenly trust me. They try their best to take care of the books that I loan them (well, there will always be casualties). It benefits us both.

There's also this old adage that says "you're only as good as your last race". In certain ways, I adhere to that belief. That's why I always have a constant "what can I do for you" mentality. I mean it's possible that I was a good friend to you a long time ago. But times change. What matters is the present. I must not only be a good friend to you in the past but in the present as well. And perhaps one of the best ways to prove that is to help you and comfort you in whatever way I can. Another old adage is "a friend in need is a friend indeed". The question you have to ask yourself is whether you want to be the friend that's helping, or the one that needs help (not that either one is better than the other). I try to be the former as much as I can. Because I know the day will inevitably come when I'll be the latter (and it has happened several times). I want to repay the kindness I was shown. I want to prove to people that I'm not out there to merely use them. I want to see people happy (because I know what it feels like not to be happy). Helping other people is a choice. Accepting help from other people usually isn't (well, you can decline the offer, but you really had no say over the situation which made you ask for help). If there's an opportunity to aid someone, why not do it? What will it cost you? Time? Money? Yes, it's an expensive price. But only if you're thinking what you can get from it. Remember, it's not about what other people can do for you. It's what you can do for them. And if each one of us practices that kind of belief, well, wouldn't the world be a slightly better place?


Post a Comment

<< Home