Unless you're a hermit living in seclusion by choice, you spend a large part of your day interacting with others. Whether it be with co-workers and managers in the office, teachers, and students at school, or your own family at home, our days will contain many moments and opportunities to build and nurture relationships.
These interactions are a normal and healthy part of human behavior. Humans aren't meant to go through their lives alone. Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have stuck together to provide guidance and assistance for any reason. Back then, it was purely for survival - if you didn't travel or cooperate with a group, the chances of death were significantly increased. Nowadays, although we don't have to worry about the same issues that the Neanderthals had to deal with, we still need the help of others in our daily lives.
Regardless of what you're trying to accomplish - a work project, a school assignment, cooking a large dinner - you'll inevitably need the assistance of others to gain progress and move forward. It can be due to something like hitting an arbitrary deadline, making sure a task or project is completed on time, or that your weakness is someone else's strength. No matter the reason, cooperation with others is a beautiful thing and can lead you to greater heights than if you were going alone.
Beware of the dangers ahead
However, this kind of cooperation comes with its own massive pitfall that's rather easy to fall into. The problem with relying on others is that sometimes you can count on them a bit too much. This over-reliance can lead to headaches and hassles down the road:
- It becomes easy to fall into a lull because you think that others will always be there to pick up your slack. Others will help you when you stumble, but you need to make sure that you're still pulling your weight. Having a false sense of security can be damaging when you begin to do less and stray away from doing the best work you can possibly do.
- You can quickly forget that others are doing things because they have their own success in mind. That's not to say that everyone has ulterior motives for helping you. For the most part, people close to you will have a vested interest in seeing you grow and succeed. However, given a choice between your success and their own, others will do things that will benefit them. If you forget this, you'll find yourself working on other people's dreams instead of your own.
- You'll be giving up your personal power to do things on your own, even when you're not consciously thinking about it. Since you know have others to rely on, they'll take you where they want to be, which is often nowhere near where you want to be. It's not uncommon for people having different results in mind despite having similar goals.
As you can see, when you rely on others too much, your path can be shifted around without even realizing it. You will no longer be in full control of your destiny and will remain held down by others. The worst part of the situation is that it usually happens without any party realizing it until it's too late. Rarely do people give up their power to others. At best, over-reliance will slow your momentum. At worst, it will completely derail you and your dreams.
Handle your business
So, what can you do to avoid falling into the trap of leaning on others too much? The primary step you can take is to always keep in mind that your ultimate success is all dependent on you. You should never expect someone else to take you all the way to a successful ending to your goals. It's all up to you to put in the necessary work in and lead yourself to where you want to be.
Now, this is not to say that you should always do everything on your own and not seek help from anyone. As mentioned earlier in this article, we all eventually need assistance from others to become better versions of ourselves. Every single person who has achieved tremendous success has done so thanks to others along the way. Bill Gates didn't build Microsoft on his own; Paul Allen was instrumental in helping form the company in its early years. Jeff Bezos is credited as the primary person behind Amazon.com, but in the beginning, he hired a pair of talented programmers to build the site while he focused on the non-technical parts of the business.
The key is to use the help of others sparingly and when necessary if you want to move forward and grow. Don't let others hold your future in their hands, either willingly or unconsciously. Let them go along your journey as long as no one tries to steer everyone on their own path. The only person who knows what you truly want is you, and what you have deep down in your heart and soul is special and unique. When you guide yourself, you'll find what you've always wanted.
Small steps for your Practical Good
If you're ready to start taking your destiny into your own hands while cooperating with others, you can begin by taking a few small steps:
- Make a roadmap of your goals and dreams. If you don't know where you're going, you can't expect to arrive at your destination. You need to be clear on what it is that you wish to achieve. Spending some time making a brief roadmap - a plan on what you want to do and what you need to do to accomplish it - will both help clarify your desires and help keep you from straying from your path as you work towards your goal.
- Separate the help you need from others from your ultimate success. Once you have a plan, identify the areas where you will need any type of support. When it's time to seek the assistance of others, always keep in mind that your success should not entirely rely on others. Get the help you need and help others with what they need, but always remember to stay on your plans and work towards your dreams.