Life sometimes has a habit of teaching you lessons in weird ways. For the first time in my life, I recently ran out of gas while driving. On this particular day, my low fuel light came on shortly after leaving home for the office. For whatever reason however, I forgot to stop on the way in, and after running errands over my lunch hour, the car died literally feet from my office parking lot.
After sitting in the car embarrassed for a moment or two, I decided to get out and see if I could get the car pushed into the parking lot and out of traffic. There was just enough of an incline to the road that I knew I realistically had no chance of pushing the car to safety alone. But I also knew with one other person the task might be accomplished.
I then proceeded to put the hood up on my car to signify to oncoming traffic that the car was incapacitated and began attempting to flag someone down to help me get the car out of the road. Over the next 15 minutes dozens, if not hundreds, of cars went past me as I pleaded for help. While many were visibly agitated by the fact that my stranded car was holding up traffic and thus slowing them down, not a single person pulled over and offered assistance.
With the shortness of the distance the car needed to be moved mocking me, I decided I needed to at least try to get the car in by myself. With the door open, and one hand on the wheel I slowly put the car in neutral and began trying to inch it forward.
Instead, the car began inching me back. After struggling for a moment or two, I lunged to get my foot onto the brake pedal before it rolled into an intersection. After witnessing my struggle, an individual leaving a fast-food place next door took pity on me and joined me in my efforts. Within seconds of us beginning to push, another car stopped to help. Moments later the car was comfortably situated in a parking spot.
It was several days later that I came to a revelation that I found so impactful and enlightening, that I felt the need to share it with all of you today. I realized that what led to me getting the help I needed was getting out of the car and making an effort myself. Standing alongside the stranded vehicle pleading for help was greeted with annoyance and apathy. Only after people saw me struggling to fix a situation that I had created for myself, were they willing to help me obtain my goal.
Such is true with so many aspects of our financial lives. If you are someone who is struggling financially and see the task before you as too large to take on alone, rather than standing and waiting for others to come provide assistance, may I make a different suggestion? Attempt to take some small steps to solve your problem alone. This simple act can show others you are trying. By doing so, I believe the anger and indifference you might be experiencing when asking for support, often turns into compassion as those around you feel led to lend a helping hand.
Conversely, if you are someone who has the means to help someone struggling, never assume that their lack of effort at the present time means they are simply wanting someone else to solve their problem for them. Perhaps, they are just exhausted from all the pushing they have already done and are merely waiting for an individual to come up beside them and provide the added strength they lack.
In my own life, I can often look around at the major problems I see and think to myself, the problem is just too big for me to do anything about. Perhaps rather than simply praying that someone or something bigger than myself will come and fix what is broken, I just need to take the first step and let others come up beside me and join in the effort. Are you facing challenges that just seem insurmountable? My advice to you is to get out of the car and start pushing. You might be surprised by how much is accomplished. Just something to think about.