go overboard

Research by Professor David Rand at Harvard University suggests that children and adults have an innate desire to strengthen the community. Children are quick to react to the impulse, but adults are more likely to pause, consider how the community will judge their behavior, and refrain from helping.

Dale Miller, Director of the Stanford Graduate School of Businessโ€™ Center for Social Innovation, reasons that people fear being seen as opportunistic or self-interested, and so they refrain from publicly helping others. Moreover, people fear that seemingly selfless actions will inspire cynicism and suspicion from peers.

Luckily, Professor Miller is working to overturn the Darwinian theory of self-interest, and arguing that compassion motivates people to help others (not self-interest!). He contends that people who overcame hardship practice altruism to return the favor and help the people around them. Altruistic individuals understand suffering and have a sincere desire to alleviate it.

What do you think? ย Are you quick to help others? ย Do you worry that people will think you have selfish motives?

PS- The awesome hoop art was made by StitchCulture. Check out her Etsy shop and say hello!

10 thoughts on “go overboard

  1. i am quick to help others…and i don’t believe my intentions are selfish. but i guess that even if someone’s intentions are selfish, the end result is that they are helping someone, so i suppose that’s a plus! happy friday!

  2. I have never thought about whether I am quick to help others. I think I just do what is in my heart whether it’s holding the elevator for someone who is running a bit behind or volunteering my time and energy towards a charitable cause. It’s a deep-rooted part of who I am, and I suppose that I have my upbringing to thank for that. And although I think it is part of my core, if we all courageously demonstrate this altruism, I think it can have a positive impact on the “doubters” around us ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Very interesting post! Since moving to Ireland, I have noticed that Americans are so quick to be untrusting of others. I never thought I was… but I think we’ve become jaded about people through bad experiences and things that have happened. I think we all need to become more caring and helpful towards others.

  4. I believe the more I’ve needed help, the more desire I have to return the favor because I understand the value of it more.. I would label it more a altruism and not of self interest.. As for worrying if people think it’s selfish motives.. let them… it says more about them then it does about my actions ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. It’s funny because I am always willing to help serve my friends and family but when it comes to strangers, it is so hard because it asks me to go outside my comfort zone. I’m also weary of being taken advantage of, since that has happened in the past. But I need to remember that not everyone will abuse a stranger’s kindness–in fact, they might just pay it forward ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I am quick to help others, sometimes at the expense of myself. It is a part of my soul. I think that in this day and age of violence, people are more cautious to help someone else for fear of getting attacked. I have to be careful with that, being a woman. But there are so many ways you can help people. There are food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. You can also help people by just being kind to them and smiling at them. I find that the more people I smile at and wish them a good day, the more people smile back and wish me a good day. Plus, smiles are free! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I don’t know what I think about this… I think it changes person to person. Some are quick to help others and some are inately selfish. How’s that for a wishy-washy answer!?!? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I think that everyone does have an innate push to help others; I think I do. But I think that we’ve sadly stopped trusting each other to the point that whenever we do see people helping others, we wonder about their “true” motives, when in reality their true motive is probably just to simply help others.
    P.S. I love how you showcase different artists on your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’d say I’m a very altruistic person, and agree that I easily empathize with others because of my own hardships with my autoimmune disease. Life’s too short to live thinking negatively. I’ve never been concerned with the thought that others might think I have selfish motives because I guess I try to see the good in people and the thought that people can live pessimistically is really disturbing and kind of sad. I won’t say I’m naive though and I do know that not everyone can be trusted but I like to give everyone a fair shot at first without being suspicious of ulterior motives.


Tell me something happy:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s