Helping others is a good way to move away from your problems and gain a new perspective but it can be draining, demoralising and it will take time away from other tasks - so who do you help? How do you choose those who will benefit the most from your time and experience? How do you make it worth your while?
Help those who help themselves first.
It’s more efficient (for you) and useful (to them) to focus on those who are already helping themselves:
- They are clearly invested in succeeding so you're more likely to get success
- They have demonstrated initiative and are more likely to take your advice
- They have already thought about it so you can have a more meaningful and interesting conversation about the problem
Similarly, do your homework before you ask for help. Do not ask "It doesn't work, what should I do?" but "I have this specific problem, I tried this solution which didn't work but I think that specific part of the solution might still be the way forward, what do you think?"
The former puts the onus on the other person to solve your problem (why would they do that?) while the latter asks for their expert opinion on a specific matter (people love that).
Who are you going to help first today?