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When I was in school, I would never try to solve problems by myself. I had a friend who would do it for me. Every time I was stuck on a math problem and couldn’t do it, I’d simply go to my friend.

With time, I didn't bother trying to solve problems by myself. I had the comfort of thinking that every time I was stuck on a problem, my friend would help me solve it. I would complete the easy ones and leave the hard ones for my friend to do it for me.

He was helping me. It was a good thing to do — help people who are stuck on problems. From his point of view, it was a help. He was trying to help me understand the underlying principles of problem and solve it, so that I could solve it next time and improve my knowledge base.

However, even though he was trying to educate me and solve my problem, he was actually doing more harm than good. I would view his help as an excuse to not try at all.

He was trying to do something good to me but I was using it as an excuse to not improve my knowledge base and improve my understanding of the problem.

I saw this happening recently as well. I was helping a friend of mine to learn to program. At the beginning, he would ask relevant questions. But later, he started to ask very simple questions which he could have figured out himself. He would view me as a source of help every time he was stuck on something. He failed to realize that finding solutions was the part of learning curve.

You learn when you are stuck at something. You search for solutions and come up with an idea. And then execute the idea.

I figured out that I was not helping him. Instead, making him more likely to fail.

If you ever find yourself doing that then understand that you're heading towards the wrong direction and you don’t have enough passion for what you’re trying to accomplish. If you have passion, you’ll figure it out yourself. But since you lack passion, you are searching for other easy alternatives.

Therefore, it’s good to help others in moderation. But realize when you're doing it too much, even for simple problems.

You can only help others by not helping them. Hence, Don't Help!

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  1. I couldn’t disagree more. One of the biggest lessons I learned in school was that helping others and being helped was one of the best ways to improve my own understanding of the subject. I would jump at any opportunity to tutor and if I needed help from peers, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask. It increased my understanding by having a peer speak to me about it and go step-by-step with the specific things I didn’t understand.

    What you’re explaining sounds like either your friend doing the work for you or your friend using you as a reference guide. Of course, if your friend genuinely seems disinterested and only wants to use you for the answer or as a reference, say no.

    But helping, genuine help, when a person genuinely wants to be helped, should never be discouraged. It could stop the friend from succeeding at all, because they’d stay stuck forever.

    • Right to the point.

      Before I write anything I want to mention that I didn’t explain what I meant in the above blog post. Reason being, I had to post something on friday and it was late. So I posted it without trying to elaborate more.
      I think this is the biggest drawback of scheduled posting. I post without elaborating or proofreading because I have deadline waiting.

      What I meant in general is that people who are genuinely interested in accomplishing something will always try hard to figure out the solution even if you don’t help them.

      I used to show genuine interest on subjects just so that I could get answers from my friends.

      So it’s important that we figure out if the person is genuinely interested or not. At least, that’s what I think.

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