Being helpful is a sign of intelligence

I believe in going out of your way to be helpful.

But what does it mean to “be helpful”?

Being helpful is context specific. It depends on the person you’re helping combined with what they need as well as what you’re able to provide.

One way of being helpful is in brief and random instances. Examples include:

  • Holding the door open for someone;

  • Or, picking up something when it falls so the person doesn’t lose something

But I think what people don’t do enough, is being long-term thoughtfully helpful to the people already connected to you. This is what I want to focus on in this post.

I’ll give you an example:

The other day I mentioned to my friend who has been operating his own electric charging company for two years that I couldn’t believe Ramez Naam (clean energy investor) invested in him! I told him that I followed Ramez online and that I was big fan. That was it.

A few weeks later, my friend told me that he was able secure additional funding from Ramez to keep their business operating. He was so appreciative that I mentioned Ramez and my friend said he wouldn’t have reached out to him otherwise.

I just did some research on my friends company and dropped a name I found on their own website. But my friend mentioned that the rekindling of this connection was critical for his business and he was very appreciative of my help.

This goes back to what I said earlier. Being helpful is context specific.

Sometimes it’s as simple as:

  • looking what the people around you are doing (read their website / learn more about their business)

  • understand what they are looking for (raising money)

  • and saying something that illuminates opportunity in their journey (an investors name)

While this may have been helpful, it was part of a longer interest of mine to be helpful to my friend and his business however I can over the long-term. Being helpful for someone long term is a great way to build a relationship and support the people in your life being the best versions of themselves.

In addition, you will become known as a helpful person and this person or others may feel some form reciprocity towards you. To be very clear, this isn’t why you should be helpful. You should expect nothing back. Just give to help others genuinely.

I’m confident that by being helpful to others, it helps improve our own lives in unforeseen ways.

One of the key phrases I learned from the startup community in Boulder is Give First. I always carry that mantra with me today.

To Give First is the ultimate sign of someone who is doing well. If you can help improve other peoples lives, you have a type of intelligence that can improve the world.