Earlier this year, Tony, a colleague in Texas emailed me an unusual request. He invited me to contribute to his neighbour’s son’s 6th grade World Geography class goal – to collect 500 postcards from all over the world. Whilst I have not met his neighbour (and have only met Tony once), I was excited to participate: as you know, I really LOVE helping people to achieve their ambitions!

It was fun to choose a postcard that highlighted London’s famous landmarks and typical London scenes (a red bus!) and write what I hoped would be a friendly, encouraging message to a young boy who I had never met before.

Therefore, it was hugely gratifying to learn this month that the class far exceeded their goal, receiving postcards from EVERY continent, 687 in total!

Jonah Miller personally received 79 postcards including the one from me, a stranger in London. His parents, Darci & Micah Miller said that the family has “learned so much, not only about geography, but also how friendship and love spans across the miles.” I share this story because the result is inspiring and we can all benefit from help received, whether a work task, idea, household chore or goal is not progressing as fast as we would like. You may even be aware that you could do with some support from a particular person… however you are not sure about asking because “everyone is so busy” or “they have enough to worry about without me bothering them”.

Therefore, how about taking inspiration from Jonah’s success? Be direct and simply ask “please can you help me?” Be BOLD and ask someone who you do not know. Needing assistance is not a sign of weakness, it is a reality. Plus, the helper will enjoy a ‘feel good’ benefit too.

I can almost guarantee that people will be delighted to support you. Research has shown that people who are extremely altruistic (such as donating a kidney to a complete stranger) have a larger and more sensitive amygdala (almond shaped area of the brain important for processing emotion) than non-donors. The opposite has been discovered in the brains of psychopaths. So if help is not so forthcoming, you have been warned…

“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.” – W.H. Auden