The Easiest Way to Help Someone

Help needed. Drowning man's hand in sea or ocean.

We’re all going to need help at one time or another.

“Do you ever have any bad days?”

For some strange reason, I get that question a lot.

Sure, I genuinely smile a lot. I do believe in the power of positivity more than many people probably believe in anything. I’m also a very happy and peaceful guy too.

And yes, I have bad days.

Hopefully that doesn’t surprise you. Believing in the power of positivity doesn’t magically immunize me from having them (but it would be awesome if it did.)

I have soul-crushing days at work. I get into arguments with my wife. People who I love deeply get sick and die. My little girls have been known to board the train to “Meltdown Town” at the most inopportune times. My faith in myself and my abilities gets tested on a near-daily basis. My tires get flat, I step in dog crap and I lose my car keys.

What positivity does for me is give me the strength to keep pushing forward, in spite of the drama that life throws at me.

But just like most people, there are days when the tank is on empty and there’s nothing left to give. Those are the worst days, by far.

And on those days when it feels practically impossible to take another step forward, is exactly when we need help the most.

That’s what this blog post is about.

The Easiest Way To Help

No matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished in your life or how much success you’re currently enjoying, there’s something that I know about you.

Life has kicked you in the teeth before. Hard. And I bet that it hurt like hell too.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

In those moments, here’s the one thing that can have an enormous positive impact:

Encouragement.

Yep, that’s it. You can positively change someone’s world in an instant if you choose to simply encourage them when they’re down. This is the easiest way in the world to help someone, and it’s something that we need to do more often.

Think of your darkest moment. Didn’t it help to hear the following from a loved one, friend, counselor or someone else?

  • “You can get through this.”
  • “I’m here for you if you need me.”
  • “I know that you’re making the right decision.”
  • “You are so much stronger than you realize.”
  • “This situation will not break you.”
  • “I believe in you.”

Words can have an incredible impact on people, and personally speaking, when I was in a dark place last summer (remember that?), it was the encouragement of Solutionist Nation that kept me going when quitting would have been so much easier.

Everyone gets weak. Everyone gets broken down once in a while. Everyone loses hope and faith. Yes, everyone.

The problem is that not everyone has someone who is willing to encourage them through those dark times.

That’s why if you deeply want to positively impact the world, commit to being an encourager. It is such a simple act, but it can serve as the fuel to positively change someone’s life.

Sadly, the world already has way too many people who are more than willing to do the opposite.

There is No Such Thing as False Hope

Encouraging others isn’t solely about helping people through the inevitable dark periods in their lives, it’s also about helping people to reach their hopes and dreams too.

So, why are so many people willing to discourage others when they’re trying to improve their lives?

For example, if there’s someone reading this who desperately wants to quit smoking, I can give you thousands of reasons why you’ll probably fail:

  • Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on earth.
  • The withdrawal symptoms are absolutely brutal.
  • Many people who quit are only able to do it for a short period of time before falling back into the habit again.

On the other hand, I can also give you thousands of reasons why you’ll absolutely succeed:

  • There are literally millions of people who have successfully quit smoking, and more are being added to the growing list each day.
  • Smoking cessation resources have never been as plentiful and effective as they are now.
  • Practically everywhere, there are quitting support groups and people who are dedicated to help you succeed.

So, let’s think about this for a minute. Since we don’t have the ability to predict the future (meaning that you have no clue if the person will fail or succeed), what sense does it make to discourage someone’s dream instead of encourage it?

I don’t care if someone wants to quit smoking, lose 100 lbs, become a best-selling novelist, start their own apparel company, erase a six-figure mountain of debt or beat stage 4 cancer, I will always encourage them on their journey.

Some people may think that it’s a dangerous thing to give people false hope. Here’s the thing that those people fail to understand:

There is no such thing as false hope.

All hope is real, and even if there was such a thing as “false hope,” I’d rather give a person false hope instead of real doubt.

I’m sure that the people who encouraged Oprah, J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan and Nelson Mandela in their darkest hours were accused of giving them “false hope” too.

Hope can change lives, and your encouragement has the power to create it. In some cases, your encouragement may be the only hope that a person has left.

The world needs more encouragers. Be one of them.

Overcoming Doubt and Changing the World

These days, critics, naysayers and doubters are everywhere.

There are so many people who are ready at a moment’s notice to list why something could fail, but instead, why not do what the average person is unwilling to do:

Show the person why he/she could succeed.

The only reason why you’re reading these words right now is because in 2012, a small group of people encouraged me to create The Positivity Solution by believing in me before I was able to believe in myself.

That gift has positively changed my life forever, and has allowed me to (hopefully) positively change the lives of anyone else who has followed this blog for the past two years.

Could you imagine how much the world would positively change if more people lifted people up who are broken down, and were willing to encourage someone’s hopes and dreams instead of discourage them?

That’s where you come in.

There are people in your life right now who need your encouragement more than ever. Maybe it’s a family member, maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a coworker or maybe it’s a complete stranger.

Either way, there is no doubt in my mind that encouraging them will positively change their world, and as a result, it will also positively change our world too.

This is the life-altering power of encouragement.

And I know that you have what it takes to make it happen.

Your Turn

Have you ever experienced the positive effects of encouragement? Can you relate to the soul-crushing feeling of being discouraged? Either way, jump into the comments below and make your voice heard! 

Shola

Shola

Founder of The Positivity Solution
Author, keynote speaker, and kindness extremist who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work with more positivity.
Shola
Shola

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Comments

  1. Hello Shola! You are a spectacular encourager!!!

    I love this post. I have to say that being an encourager is one of the things that truly lifts me up when I am down. In some of my darkest moments, I have been able to see light by helping others. I suppose that may seem contradictory, but it has worked for me.

    For example, when I was a Freshman in college, I was date raped. This was something that has taken me years to deal with, but through the darkest moments, I have been blessed by helping others who have been through similar situations. Now I can honestly say I have not a single remnant of that hurt within me. I truly believe, if I met that man today, I would not have anything left for him but forgiveness.

    Also, I struggled hard as a single mom for 5 years. Those were very lean times. I experienced having my utilities shut off due to lack of payment, having only ramen noodles and scrambled eggs to feed my kids, and dreading Christmas because I had nothing for them to open. But it is only because I have survived such darkness that others know I am genuine in my offers of assistance and advice. I have no motive other than to help them along their journey.

    I also want to say that I chuckled when I read the opening question. I have been asked the same thing! Do I have bad days? Do I ever get mad or frustrated? HA! Of course, we are human! Last week was an incredibly difficult and challenging week. The whole first floor of my house flooded on Wednesday and on Friday we woke up to the interior of the house being only 43 degrees! Know what got us through? Laughter and lots of perspective!!! I now have the cleanest floors I have ever had because of all the scrubbing, shop-vac-ing and bleaching! My thermostat has been replaced just in time for the weather to finally warm up in Pittsburgh! And as my mother always says when things go wrong, “Nobody died. Things are replaceable. You push through and move on.” (she’s pretty smart! she raised 8 of us, so I guess she knows what she is talking about lol)

    I didn’t mean to write a book, but I wanted to share just how much your post hit home with me! Thank you again, Shola. You rock my socks!!!

    Kathy

    • Kathy, One of Shola’s best accomplishments with this blog is that he has attracted people like you to regularly read and comment, and make powerful contributions to the group. Thank you for being willing to share personal stories when it will benefit all of us. I truly admire you as a woman who has first survived, then gone on to love life and share the joy.

      • Thanks Donna! And I agree with you completely–the reason why I love jumping into the comments each week is because of the realness that’s being shared here on a weekly basis. You guys are just too awesome for words.

    • I agree with Donna! Thank you Kathy for sharing such personal experiences, I am definitely inspired…I’m in Philly! 🙂 I’m so glad the snow is finally gone and it’s warming up lol

    • Kathy, not that you need me to tell you this, but you are one exceptional human being. I mean…WOW. The fact that you’re able to overcome all of that adversity and still be here with laughter and forgiveness is the epitome of positivity. Just reading your comment actually encouraged me to push through some of the minor drama that I’m currently dealing with right now. Seriously, thank you for setting an example that ALL of us can follow 🙂

  2. Fabulous article. In answer to your question, this is what the chi-lifting community of Chi-To-Be has as it’s mission each and every day… To uplift the world one heart at a time. We do this by forming Accountability Partnerships to help remind each other to keep our eye on our goals rather than our disappointments by practicing the 11 Chi-To-Be Energy Surges shared for free at http://www.chi-to-be.com/blog.

  3. Good morning Shola. I think your weekly dose of encouragement is one of the reasons why I so look forward to your Monday morning blog posts. And I agree, though it is so obvious that a few words of encouragement make a great difference, it is more often that we get DIScouraging input from others. In the past, I would get hung up on discouragement, and often I would give up on something, just because my “friends” or family made me doubt myself. I think I finally started to figure out why people do this, and now I can pretty much ignore that type of negative talk, and be true to myself and my goals. For what it’s worth, here is my curbside psychology: If someone says, “Oh Donna, you can’t find a new job in this economy. I know your boss is mean and treats you like crap, but you need to suck it up and be grateful. It is foolish to quit a good job and think you can just get a new one anytime you please.” What that person is doing is projecting their own fears and limitations onto me. What they REALLY mean, but are not honest enough to say, is “Oh Donna, I could never do what you are doing. I would let that woman beat me up one side and down the other, and I’d still be grateful for that job. It would be too scary for me to quit in this economy, and I just can’t see myself being an attractive enough employee to beat out all the other applicants for a good position. I would totally settle. Wow, you are very independent and confident. How do you do it?” I try to offer encouragement to others when I see they need it, whether I know them well or not. And when someone says something discouraging to me, I try to remember that what they’re really saying is they are afraid to do what I’m doing, and can’t imagine a scenario where they could or would try anything similar.

    • Again Donna, you nailed it again (I know that I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s true!) People who often discourage others are absolutely dumping their fears and insecurities onto you. I was discouraged by quite a few people to start this blog (“Seriously, do you know how many millions of positivity blogs there are out there? What do you have to offer that’s any different from them?”), and honestly, their discouragement did slow me down a lot. But looking back on it after reading your comment, it really was their fears and insecurities talking. Two of them started blogs and failed, so they automatically assumed that I would be next. Thankfully, after years of sitting on the sidelines, I tuned out the discouragement and listened to the people who encouraged me instead…and the rest is history. Your point is SO well-taken Donna, and I’ll remember it next time I’m faced with discouragement. When you open your curbside psychology practice, let me know 😉

  4. Hello Shola! Yep you are right, we have all encountered people who try to bring us down when we are confident or down in the dumps, I see it in real life and even on the internet.
    At deviant art, someone made a beautiful drawing, there were people there who liked it and encouraged her to keep drawing, than there was a critic that called her drawing “ugly”. Maybe this person said it out of jealousy. There are way too many people who use their own problems as an excuse to hurt another person. However there are those kinds of people who will bring hope to those who are hurting. The only thing that’s going to save the human race is love excluding romantic attraction. My faith in humanity sort of went down yesterday because a few people reacted negatively to me saying that I am asexual online. They went “troll, troll, troll!” “I can’t stand asexuals” etc. The posts you deliver Shola, reminds me that there are still mature and decent people in the world who like to make others feel better, thank you Shola, you are doing the world a huge favor 🙂

    • Cianna, I hate hearing that people treated you that way. Just so you know, there has been much written for decades and even centuries, about how many societies and individuals see women purely as sexual objects, to be used for others’ convenience and pleasure. Even many women still buy into this. When you state you are asexual, there are so many that will read into this that you are making a statement, that you are a free person, with your own mind and free will, and you are here for more than just to be a toy. That is threatening to certain unevolved individuals, and so they attack, hoping to make you retreat and accept the role in society they think you should have, whether it suits you or not. They will always be out there, please know they are wrong, ignorant, and fearful.

      • Thank you very much Donna, your comment is much appreciated. 🙂 In my book, people are people, not tools to be used. These kinds of people are like rabid wolves afraid of those who are outsiders.

    • I’m so sorry that you had to put up with that, Cianna. As I love to say, “hurt people, hurt people.” As I posted a few weeks, even in the face of rudeness and mean-spirited behavior, just remember that there are more people out there who are kind, mature and loving. Keep being the change my friend, and don’t let the haters bring you down!

  5. I have several friends that, well, life has just not been kind. But they keep making the same mistakes over and over. Doing the same bad things and each time we discuss….and I’m supportive…and I give them my energy and yet weeks or months later the same thing happens again. There’s a point where trying to be helpful takes on a different face. All the supportive phrases in the world don’t help if the other person does the same thing again. At that point my approach to being helpful is putting things on the line and discussing the “Root Cause” of the situation.

    • Very true, Ken. Sometimes the best help that you can give another person is to stop helping them so that they can learn to help themselves (if that makes sense.) This post wasn’t as much about those people, as it was about the power of using encouragement to help people who actually need it. In a world where people are way too quick to discourage and criticize others, I think that we need as many encouragers as we can get.

  6. Lynessa R says:

    Good Afternoon Shola!

    Although, I am suffering from 15, yes ya’ll read that right 15, autoimmune conditions I try to encourage my family, friends, and even strangers every day, even my very bad days.

    I get discouraged very often because I have trouble doing so many things that I used to be able to do. My family and my closest friends encourage and remind me that it’s ok that my house is a mess. They came to see me not judge my clutter. They also encourage me on my bad days that even though I am in pain I still smile and laugh.

    • WOW. That is incredible, Lynessa–thanks for sharing. After reading your story and Kathy’s too, I’m always fascinated how people facing very real challenges can find the power to encourage others, while some people who seemingly have every advantage that life has to offer can’t even muster up a smile or kind word to someone. Just like I said to Kathy, you are an inspiration. Thank again for sharing and for being the change!

  7. Hi Shola,

    Please go on with this blog for many more years!! We need you.

    Anette

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