Can you help those that need it most?

The sad truth about those that need help the most, is that they often don’t want it. I first started realising this when I starting talking to people about financial literacy, they’d often quip something like….

“Yeah, I’ve found calculus useful this tax season.”

Sure, we could have learnt it at school, but we can also pick up a book. But it is more comfortable to blame someone else. As long as someone see themselves, they cannot be helped. Without a trigger and action from them, nothing can be done.

A common story

On Saturday, A friend of mine and I were catching up. After we’d gone through the superficial we began chatting about his brother. A brother he feels is not progressing, not even with the expectation of realising his potential, merely just looking at the direction of travel.

It is not a unique challenge. We all have friends and/or family who are stagnant or even worse regressing.  It is a common story.

It’s not the message

He asked whether, based on my coaching experience what message will work. Immediately a thought from Jim Rohn speaking about Jesus preaching comes to mind. They all heard the same message – some believed, some were incredulous, some mocked, some doubted and some didn’t understand. It’s not the message.

No longer see themselves as the “Victim”

“Are you a creature of circumstances or a creator of circumstances?” – Stephen Doran

As part of my personal development programme this year, I am reading about the stories of about 30 great influencers. One surprisingly common trait, from the 4 I’ve read so far, is that Confucius, Genghis Khan, Queen Victoria and Nelson Mandela, all had their father die while they were children (or even newborns).

There is a bit of bias, as my father passed away when I was 9, so this stood out for me. Additionally their mother’s had limited means to “enable” success (for Queen Victoria we need to add a relatively in front of “limited means“).

It was tough for them, but they did so much with what they had.

Perhaps it is unfair to compare those exceptional abilities to us mere mortals, which is true, but it does not exclude the point on what is possible.

Perhaps too, it is unfair (at times) to compare people with different access to opportunities. But too often we see friends or family that have similar opportunities through schooling, network, options who feel they are a victim of circumstances stagnate,

There are also extreme situations well out the control of the individual, although they would hardly be unique in their adversity.

The reality is that regardless of circumstances, as long as people see themselves as the victim, it is impossible to help them. Any help will be short term and create a dependency. It is also robbing them the opportunity of pulling themselves up. Sometimes helping only further enshrines the “Victim Perspective” within themselves.

It can be better to help modestly, to help create the framework for them to help themselves. For it to succeed, they need to no longer see themselves as the “Victim”.

The Trigger

A trigger is also needed for change. I reflect on my own journey. I’ve had various triggers, one was as a 31 year old being so inflexible and overweight that one morning I couldn’t tie my own shoe laces.

My brother-in-law quit an active smoking habit the moment he found out my sister was pregnant, he literally threw away the box there and then.

A mate’s father was put on early retirement, which made him realise he needed to start building his income streams.

Sometimes it’s a drunk driving incident.

Sometimes an end to a relationship.

It needs to be vivid and relevant to stick in the individuals mind. It is hard to manufacture. I have tried. On their own, people need to find the trigger.

The Action needs to be active

The individual needs to take one relevant decisive action immediately. A step towards it. Like throwing away the cigarette box or cutting up a credit card. Whatever it is, any mindset shift, needs to be associated with an action, it can be small, but the action needs to be active.

Do you see yourself as a victim? Have you found the trigger? Have you done something active to change your circumstances? 

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