There is a myth. This myth goes something like, “I want to do it all on my own” or “I do not need help.” We revere those who have “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.” Many people want to emulate figures such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Mark Cuban.  They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. The logic is “they did it, so why can’t I?” The idea is that your success is entirely your making. There is some truth to that because inaction will not make you successful. You have to do something and more often than not you have to do more than the next person.  Action will make you successful.  Significant action will make you very successful. However, there is a fallacy in that thinking as well. You cannot do it all on your own. Everyone needs some help!

Helping Others

There are at least two parties to every transaction. For instance, I am looking for work now. I can send out thousands of resumes and hear nothing back because the people who I send them to do not want what I have to offer. The other party must be given a reason to act. If you do not give them enough reason to act, then they will not. So when I refer to help, I am talking about your acts that are enough to induce someone to act that benefit you in some way. You can offer a product or service to customers all day, but without them buying the product you will go out of business. A business needs the help of their customers. The business must offer a product or service that induces the other party to act for the benefit of the business.

You Cannot Do It All On Your Own

One of my passengers yesterday graduates high school soon. She told me did not know what she wanted to do with here life. I told her she has time so not to stress about it too much now. She said that her mother had just bought a house and that she (my passenger) was working to pay some of the bills. My passenger was surprised at how hard it was to make ends meet. As she was exiting my car she told me that whatever she did that she “wanted to do it all on her own.” Essentially she wanted to pull her self up by her bootstraps.  I told her that we all need help sometimes and not to refuse it when or if it is offered.

Give Others A Reason To Act For Your Benefit

Others will not act without a good reason, so the only option you have is to give them a good enough reason to act. That’s the only element of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” that you have in your control. You must act and persevere in spite of obstacles. However, you must offer the right product or head in the right direction. If you offer a poorly designed product or follow a non-productive path, people will not buy or help you along your journey. Your actions and trajectory are what will induce others to act to help you.

Sometimes you are the one that is trying to induce the other party to act to help you. There are other times when others are trying to get you to help them. If you are in either one of these positions, try to figure out what the other person needs or wants and give it. If you are on the receiving end, then be patient, and carefully consider the consequences of your action or inaction. Give constructive feedback (if possible) so that you provide more value with your yes or no.

Final Thoughts On Pulling Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps

There is no such thing as “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.” No one can do it all on their own. We all need help. There is no shame in asking for it as long as you are not unreasonable in your expectations. Do everything you can. Be patient. The greatest success stories are those who failed but did not give up. We revere the success stories because they give us hope. Hope that we can rise above our caste.

Give others hope that they can rise above their caste by helping them when you can. You never know when you will be in the same situation.

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