Today, I want to show how you can be a hero without creating disappointment.
Individuals Want To Help
“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” – Jodi Picoult
As an individualist, you want to help. Contrary to the collectivists’ narrative, it is the capitalist, the libertarian, or the individualist who seeks to improve the world. We improve the world by letting others better themselves and collect their just rewards for such an effort. Individualists do not stand in individuals’ way, and we do not demand tribute.
Further, anyone who has achieved self-improvement wants to help others. If you’ve overcome an addiction, finished a large project, or earned a promotion, you know how valuable virtue and self-discipline are. When you look at other people, you can see how self-discipline would improve their lives for the better. Thus, you want to help them.
The individualists’ hero complex arises from the pursuit of virtue. Our desire to help comes from wanting to teach and guide. This type of help conflicts with the collectivist who wants to control and condemn. The individualists’ path is one of virtue, but the collectivists’ is one of dependence. We know our way works, we have the personal and historical evidence to prove it. Thus, we march forward, trying to help people help themselves.
However, Others Will Disappoint You If You Are Not Careful
However, the world is full of disappointment. Constantly, individualists see how people do not want to pursue virtue or self-knowledge. The average person prefers quick comforts at the cost of their present and their future.
For example, have you ever tried to convince someone of the historical and moral value of capitalism? Have you tried to explain the virtues and benefits of peaceful parenting? Or, have you tried to explain why change has to start at the local level to be effective? Everything you’ve expressed is correct, yet people mock, shame, or belittle you for your ideas.
And, of course, you are right. Capitalism is better than any other economic system. Peaceful parenting is more effective and virtuous than all other options. And virtue is the only path to a happy, fulfilling life. But no one buys it. You’re trying to help people, but you’re finding rejection and hostility everywhere you turn.
How To Avoid Disappointment When Trying To Help Others
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” – Alexander Pope
When trying to convince people of the virtues of individualism, you will become disappointed at their embrace of ineffective economic policies, conflicting moral principles, and personal addictions. However, your disappointment will only hurt you.
Therefore, today I want to offer advice on how to avoid disappointment when dealing with others. You should always seek to help, but your focus should be on your mental health.
The advice I offer helps you avoid disappointment through three main steps:
- Accept you are not your brothers’ keeper – I know you want to make the world a better place, but it pays to be rational and accept most people will embrace vice over virtue.
- Focus on yourself – The best way to reduce suffering in the world is to improve your life and increase your happiness.
- Focus on the virtuous – Never waste time on those who love vice over everything else. Instead, sort through the noise and find the individuals who are eager and receptive to the message of self-improvement.
1. You Are Not Your Brothers’ Keeper
You cannot save those who do not wish to save themselves. No matter your race, national origin, sex, or sexuality, you have no moral obligation to help others. Why? Because you are a sovereign individual. Further, to force you to help others would require undermining the moral claim you have to your life.
Therefore, you are not your brothers’ keeper. It is not your responsibility to bail out the big banks when they mess up. It is not your responsibility to pay more taxes to attend to the irresponsible. Further, it is not your responsibility to defend the immoral.
Even though you wish to do good, you have to reject the idea you are morally responsible for everyone. Further, you must reject the notion that everyone will improve because you give them your resources.
Instead, focus on helping virtuous individuals who are trying to turn their life around. Your ability to sort the genuine from the predators will never be perfect. However, don’t let the occasional cheat make you bitter to the world.
2. Avoid Disappointment By Focusing on yourself
After rejecting the toxic idea of moral obligation, you can focus on yourself. Delusionally, our culture believes self-improvement does not lead to a better world. This idea is false. You improve the world and lessen suffering by dealing with your trauma and fulfilling your virtuous ends.
Most people are miserable because they focus on everything except themselves. When they do focus on themselves, they pursue vice. However, they never focus on becoming more generous, fulfilling their life goals, or improving their relationships.
However, we are individuals. As individualists, we are smart enough to know when we develop our personal lives, we can improve the lives of others:
- What if you have a better work ethic? Now you can use your excess wealth to help the needy.
- What if you control your emotions better? Now you can have a better attitude and brighten someone else’s day.
- What if you accomplish your goals? You can show others how to do the same.
Avoid getting lost in the culture and the noise.
3. Avoid Disappointment By Helping The Virtuous and the Local
The best way to keep your sanity is to focus on helping the virtuous. When you put your time, energy, and resources towards good people, you will see the benefits of your efforts.
The more good people you help, the better you will feel. Do you know an unlucky man looking for work? Get him a job. Do you see a friend who could use help with rent? Lend him some money. Do you know a family member who is feeling depressed? Give her a call and cheer her up.
Always Look For Ways To Help Other Individuals
“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.” – Paulo Coelho
One of the reasons I wrote this blog is to help individuals understand the sophist arguments collectivists make. Collectivists will claim you are responsible for everyone when this simply isn’t true. They will also call you selfish, short-sighted, and evil, despite evidence to the contrary.
However, you are not your brothers’ keeper. Therefore, you must focus on self-improvement. Self-improvement enhances society as you reduce suffering within your own life. With added power, influence, and ability, you can then help other individuals. Always focus your generosity locally, and only help those who will help themselves.
- When have people argued you are responsible for others? How did such an argument make you feel?
- Who is one person in your life who could use your help? It doesn’t matter with what. Whether the person needs a friend, a good book, or a small loan, who within your life might benefit from your generosity?
- What’s one thing you can do to reduce your suffering? Is there a bad habit you could break or a virtue you could pursue? Remember, when you reduce your personal sufferings, you benefit the world.
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.