Good Deed – Where to Draw the line!

In continuation with my previous blog entry, Good Deed, Bad Turn, where I discussed on the bad effect of a very good intent and deed. A crippled for life butterfly due to the seemingly very good intent – a pertinent question that could rise (and in fact posed by a friend) – profound and immensely thought provoking one.

The question in her own words… “What a wonderful story. But I have some questions relating to the application of the story in real life.

I put myself in the place of the man observing the cocoon. There are so many instances that I know I can help a person who really needs me and sometimes I get overboard in helping that person. How can one know how to draw the line ?”

This unexpected question on what I thought was a straightforward application to anyone’s life set me thinking. Reflecting it for a couple of days, I could arrive at some kind of answers – which was needed especially after I received a couple of reminders seeking it.

My reply – I prefer to make it conversational to capture the essence of the discussion.

Two aspects had to be understood in this context.  First up, the story was not meant to act as a guide to decision making. The author of the story (anonymous to me) I believe intended us to be aware that all help, however noble the intent is may not be really a help. In fact, the target of our seva may be better off had we not intervened like in the story.
Secondly, it  also highlights the fact that troubles or travails in life is not necessarily a negative thing, it helps us GROW and MOST IMPORTANTLY REALIZE OUR OWN CAPABILITIES, which is in fact infinite.

Look at the story from the Butterfly’s perspective – dont you think that if only the struggle was complete, wings would have developed totally and helped it to take flight. Coming to your question, I think (very very personal opinion here) the answer lies in changing our perspective from that of the person observing the cocoon to that of the butterfly emerging out of the cocoon.

Meaning try to get into the other persons shoes to decide the cut-off point. Have you also noticed that most of the times in life, we end up helping people whom we can or feel like helping (at our convenience and comfort) and not always the one who needs help.

It is our call that wins – this person needs help or that person needs help – a decision that we as doer take. Another example, earlier in my career – my job which involves lot of technical presentations – I used to prepare Powerpoint presentations as a training aid to myself as trainer. Whereas it should be done with audience in mind because the central figure and target of training is the audience not the trainer,

The same applies to seva or help that we do to others. Change the focus from us as helper to the recipient of our help. More often than not, we would find the solution in the process of switching perspective.

Once the perspective is changed, we will realize the extent and the very need of help anyone requires and we will not do or overdo things when not required.

Thanks my dear friend for this very thought provoking question, it made me think and find answers atleast for myself. The conclusions as always are open to debate and corrections!