I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. — Edward Everett Hale
A similar sentiment was expressed by William Penn I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. Your best strategy over the long-haul is to understand where people want to go and help them get there. You do this by talking with them about what aid and support they need from you and being sure they get it. It may seem more expedient to charge full-speed-ahead and others be damned; but being too self-serving ends up, in the long run, serving no one. Your success is best served by helping others succeed.
The glitch is that, no matter how well-intentioned, your offer to help is usually turned down or the response is, “I will let you know.” If you sincerely want to help, do not ask what you can do to help or wait to be asked. Think about what the person’s problem is or what they want to accomplish and then do something helpful. Proactively helping is most always much more helpful than help that is merely offered though it does take a little more time, a little more thought, and a little more effort. “Did that help?” is often the best question you can ask. As Sunshine Magazine pointed out, He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.
The famous Anon. had a particularly pithy way of emphasizing the importance of being proactive with others, Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful. Albert Schweitzer and William James respectively joined the help when you can, wherever you can chorus. Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him; and Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. Perhaps the last word on it should go to George Bernard Shaw who said, This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.