If people don’t know you need help, how can they help you? You might ask, “Why should they?” The answer is that people helping people is a natural phenomenon. It’s just something we do.
A study by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology proves that humans are born with the instinct of assisting others in need. The study shows by the time we are about 18 months old we have developed the capacity for altruism.
“Psychology researcher Felix Warneken performed a series of ordinary tasks in front of toddlers, such as hanging towels with clothespins or stacking books. Sometimes he struggled with the tasks. Sometimes he deliberately messed up. Over and over, whether Warneken dropped clothes pins or knocked over his books, each of 24 toddlers offered help within seconds – but only if he appeared to need it.” — Study Shows Babies Try to Help by Lauran Neergaard (Associated Press)
This study shows that young humans can discern when help is needed, and they can figure out how to help. They quickly crawled to fallen clothespins and books to pick them up and present them to Warneken. Try this yourself with books, clothespins, or just working in the garden.
In the business world, we often have problems, but we keep the problems secret. We don’t want to appear weak and unable to cope, so we try to look as if we are totally in command. We want to be perfect. Many of us suffer from stress because of that façade.
If we could learn to admit mistakes and problems, we might find that others would jump in to assist us. Couldn’t we all use a little help every now and then?