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What moves people to help others

There are many habits we learn by watching the people around us. Our elders instruct us by their own example. We lend a helping hand because we’ve seen it done and believe that it is the cultural convention. It’s a very good thing when such practices are ingrained in the very culture.

People also emulate their icons – when they hear their favourite sportsperson is taking part in a 5 km walk for a cause or a pop star or film heroine is seen in reel or real life as showing their solidarity for the needy, it strengthens their own impulse to be of help.

Personal experience of scarcity or helplessness also makes a few extraordinary people form a strong resolve to help people who may face a similar situation. Many philanthropists are people who’ve triumphed over very difficult odds to be successful and have willed sizeable fortunes to be of assistance to others who can thus be encouraged to progress in their own lives. People who have made significant advances through their own struggle – such as Helen Keller – have also striven to better the lot of many disabled persons around the world in many ways.

There is also a simple social instinct to help – whenever you see someone in need, with whom you share any sense of connection – you are likely to try to be of some assistance. The connection could be that you speak the same native language, it could be that the other person is also a devotee or a fellow lawyer or simply someone who travels in the same bus everyday. The simple requirement is that the person in need must also appear sociable enough.

People also come forward to help if they know a lot about the subject. If they know much about childrens’ causes, they will look to help in such matters. If they have experience of earthquakes or flood, they will be forthcoming when there are such natural calamities. Some others give gladly of their time, energy and money when it comes to education and skill development. Thus, one’s own background and abilities also influences what kind of situations we are likely to be most helpful in.

And that’s a very good thing – after all, we need people who can respond fantastically just where we really want them to, and it’s about identifying who to tap and when. Knocking on every door about everything under the sun also causes Call Center Fatigue and people are compelled to use the DNC registry and lodge complaints about violations.

These days, many NGOs are really moving people to do just that ( insulate themselves from unwanted callers) because of an injudicious approach where they lack empathy with the feelings of their donors and scant respect for their privacy and time.

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