Start by helping yourself, first

model on the ground

“Ladies and gentlemen, in the unlikely event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the bulkhead above you. Pull down firmly and fit the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally. Please note, even when the oxygen is flowing freely, the bag will not inflate. Once your mask in place, please help children or the elderly.”

You’ve heard this before, or similar, when you fly. There’s a message there, even if you haven’t quite worked it out yet. Seems a bit bizarre that you’d be learning a life lesson from the flight attendant, right? Well, here’s how it goes.

Look after yourself first.

I’ve repeated this lesson to many ears over the years, some have taken the time to listen, fewer have chosen to comprehend. This is because it can be a very hard lesson to learn and live by.

You must look after yourself first, before you attempt looking after anyone else. This can be extremely difficult to do, especially when you see needs every day and have a compulsion to help people bridge those gaps. It’s just a little after all, isn’t it? Just a little here, a little there. When you add it all together, those little bits all add to a lot – and that’s a big dent in your future.

Here’s the thing, people need help. There is no end to the number of people who need help. If you sacrifice yourself to help it is not only a sacrifice you make today, but one you will make many times over in future – for the same assistance you have already given.

Let me spell it out, with greater clarity. When you have taken the time and put in the work to look after yourself, you will be in a strong position. You have resources, strong resources, you can utilise to help. Now, instead of eating into your limited budget to stumble along with the people you are assisting, you can offer assistance without stumbling – and you can help more comprehensively.

This is quality help that can be relied upon, so much more valuable than piecemeal assistance that only serves to delay the inevitable outcome. So next time you want to help someone, think about what help you want to give them – what is best for them, and you, in the long run.

On a final note, always keep a pen and notebook handy for jotting down quick thoughts and info. Electronic devices are great, but that saved information gets lost, you forget about it or starting up the app to make the note takes too long and you get frustrated and convince youreself you’ll “just remember”.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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