Ways to distinguish yourself – #11 Help people help themselves

Ways to distinguish yourself – #11 Help people help themselves

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 21 Mar 2005, 10:18 PM – 3 Comments

It is interesting how many of us hoard information and knowledge.

Knowledge used to provide competitive advantage a while ago, not


I have seen this time and again in the IT services industry where if

you ask for help, rather than providing the source and explaining how

to solve the problem, the tendency for a fellow developer is to

actually go and solve the problem. That helps but remember the old

adage “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” People are happy when their problem is solved but they will be delighted when they learn how to solve it themselves.

One doubt you may have is that if you share everything (including the

source) why would anyone come to you again?  Would sharing make

you dispensable?

My point is that with all the resources that are available, most often,

people can find the information all by themselves. By helping people

help themselves, you are taking the road less traveled. Next time, when

people ask for help, see if you can provide enough information so that

the person can solve the problem himself or herself. He or she will

thank you for that. You will have the satisfaction of growing someone

rather than just solving a tactical problem.


Related Articles:

Posted in the Distinguish yourself, Main Page category.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend   

3 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on March 22nd, 2005

Let’s say if the world is going to be running out of fish, would you still insist urself to teach them how to fish? Therefore, in my opinion, if there are a lot of fish, i wouldn’t be bother to teach that person how to fish, but if the resources is limit, i won’t do that, “being nice to other people in such situation is being cruel to myself.”

Anonymous  on March 22nd, 2005

I think this is due to assumption that fish is the only source of food. As you help other people grow and contribute to the GDP there will be multiple sources of food to choose from. By helping other people grow the pie gets bigger.



Anonymous  on March 22nd, 2005

Thanks Judy. My next post was going to address this exact issue. How do we ensure that we are innovative and not dependent on the fact that only “we” know how to “fish”. If you don’t teach them to fish, someone else will, it’s a matter of time. Thoughts?

Leave a Comment