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 Business’ 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?  Are you quick to help others?  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!