Some time ago, I came to the realization that human beings are weak. We came to life being very fragile creatures, we require a lot of attention, and we’re unable to do anything on our own. After a while, we grow bigger and smarter, but our strength and intelligence are not as good as those of older humans. When we turn into adults, you may think that we’ve finally reached the “perfect” version of a human being, but even for the most gifted humans that’s not true. The harsh reality is that no matter how hard you train or study, you’re always going to have weak spots.
Our limited nature makes it impossible for us to know everything and be good at everything. Even if you consider yourself a multipotential person and know how to survive on your own, there’s always going to be areas in which you’re not that good. The only way in which we can surpass our limitations is by relying and getting help from other people.
Last year I discovered this philosophy called “ubuntu” which could be translated as “humanity” or “I am because we are”. This was one of the main pillars of Nelson Mandela’s ideology. There’s no official definition for it because it’s a very broad concept that could be interpreted in many ways. The easiest way that I know to explain what “ubuntu” means to me is with a simple analogy. Let’s say that you are very proficient at cooking burgers and your friend is not. By helping your friend cook burgers and teaching him how to do it, you’re allowing him to progress as a cook. Now that he knows how to cook burgers he can keep on learning new dishes, you’re basically helping him unlock new skills.
In a few phrases, I’ll say that “ubuntu” means understanding that “I’m not all that I can be unless you are all that you can be” and “the better you are, the better I am”. Nowadays, society teaches us to compete and act as individuals, but being taught to help others is essential and will eventually make the world a better place to be.
I would really encourage you to take a minute and think this concept through. Helping is not only beneficial in one direction, you also become a better person when you practice it. Futhermore, helping others feels good, is natural, and we should do it more often. Whenever you see someone having a bad day, offer to help them and think about how grateful you would be if you were in their situation.
Consider the endless possibilities this idea could be applied and how it could benefit the world in the long-run.
We must stop trying to win over people and instead focus all our attention in growing together through collaboration. Enough of this ego of trying to be the best, it’s boring, the fun is in setting the ego aside and helping each other grow. When fighting alone, humans are limited and weak, but together we’re unstoppable.
We can build communities in which you offer help with the things you’re good at and receive help from people who are skilled in their craft. It may sound like a very idealistic vision, but it’s not, just by helping your inner circle you’d be taking a big step towards this ideal. Think local, we don’t have to save the world, our perception of the world is based on our inner circle and the people with whom we interact daily, by improving them you’re improving “your world”.
To conclude this article, I wanted to give some specific steps that you can take today to start living the “ubuntu” way. Remember, you’re not alone in this, you focus on helping your inner circle and the rest would get worked out like a supportive chain. Furthermore, this is a gradual process, so you shouldn’t expect everything to improve overnight.
You can start today by:
- Offering help to someone you feel might need it. Pay attention to the people who help others a lot, as they are the ones who struggle to ask for help in tough times.
- Giving yourself some time to interiorize the idea of “ubuntu”.
- Writing down a list of the areas you can help in.
- Watching this short animated clip that explains a similar concept through a dialog
Thanks for reading and I’ll hope that you’ll extract something useful from this article and start helping people in your community. Together we can make the world an easier place to live in.