Friday Rant: Economic Myopia — Stepping Off The Treadmill To Assist Others

We're all working over-time these days to hedge uncertainty and meet our corporate and personal goals. "Time" has become an even more valuable commodity than money and we seem to be spending more and more of it to achieve our goals around the latter. A natural response, yes, but I realized this week that to not take some time in the non-monetary pursuit of assisting others constitutes a terrible loss for ourselves and those around us.

Case in point: Like many of you, I've had an extremely hectic week. And mine was further exacerbated by the kind of computer problems that make you feel as though your head's going to blow off and fly around the room. In the midst of this crisis, I got a call from a guy named Tony who had done some landscaping for me earlier this summer. He was calling to thank me for connecting him with a local hospital maintenance director, providing him a great reference, and to tell me he got the job.

This phone call stopped me in my tracks and provided me with an attitude adjustment that couldn't be touched by the three martini lunches of decades past. Tony is a hardworking, sincere man with tremendous responsibilities who has not only been shunned by a decrepit public school system and dismal economy, but also deprived of access to the kinds of networks that have been vital to everyone in our society who achieves success.

I suppose we're all a bit jaded by the policy and economic failures that have given rise to so much malaise in our contemporary society. But it would be wrong to just pursue our individual objectives without spending at least some time engaging others in need -- and to assist them in ways that return significant benefits for relatively small well placed efforts.

Such small investments can take many forms. Simply asking those we encounter in our everyday lives "how they're doing" and taking the time to listen to their response can reveal tremendous opportunity for spending just a small amount of time. Helping someone set up their books for a small business, connecting a private contractor to other sources of business or simply offering to edit someone's resume can have a huge impact.

Try it when the opportunity presents. You might just get a call that helps to keep everything in perspective when you least expect to.

- William Busch

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