Being useful is definitely underrated these days, most people assume they should command attention just for being present, but not too many actually know how to offer true value. Whether it be at work, while socialising, or creating wealth, the art of being useful is one of the most important life skills that you can learn and the sooner you can master it, the sooner you will benefit.
Most people assume that being useful starts and stops at work as this is where they are paid to act in this way, but there is far more to it than that. Being useful is not about sucking up to others or knowing something about everything, what it is really about is giving without necessarily expecting something in return. If you are able to see past the obvious needs to be useful and broaden your scope of usefulness, you will find that there are lots of ways that you can benefit from this, you may even find that you already are.
Being Useful at Work
Finding people that are useful in the workplace is actually a lot harder than you might think. The number of people that are close to completely useless is astounding and while they might try to make themselves look good, they generally fall a long way short. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t take too much to stand out from the crowd if you have something to offer or are willing to try just that bit harder.
Achieving success in the workplace requires the same approach as anything else that is worthwhile in life and ultimately it comes down to attitude. If you want to be useful, don’t go to people with problems, offer solutions instead. Focus on what needs to be done instead of complaining about it or building it up to be bigger than it is. Find ways to improve a process instead of following them blindly and try giving just that little bit more in order to create a great experience rather than just achieving an outcome. Being an employee takes up a huge chuck of time for most people, so it only makes sense to make it easier on yourself. Being useful is by far the best way to prove yourself and gain the recognition you deserve, so take action and see how far it takes you.
Being a Useful Friend
Friendships and relationships blossom out of usefulness and generally break down again when one side or another becomes less useful. If you think about your friends right now and what it is that brings you together you’ll probably find that it is often because they have something that you like or want. It may simply be because you enjoy their company, sometimes it is because they are good at something and you admire them for it, or it can be because you share a passion for the same thing. Whatever it is, you are attracted to them because they are useful to you in some way.
If you enjoy socialising, then it is quite likely that you practice or find ways to be useful yourself so that you become attractive to others as well. some people need to work on these aspects, while others are naturally more useful (attractive) to people in one way or another. Anyone can develop their social usefulness if they choose to, but like all worthwhile things it requires work. Some people go all in on any activity suggested and are therefore useful participators, others create an environment that lends itself to entertaining, and some follow sports, movies, music or undertake hobbies that enable a common link to be formed with the people they want to attract.
If you have spent time reading any of the articles on this site, then you would know that my aim here is to encourage you to think about all facets of wealth creation, rather than just the financial aspects. The ability to be a useful socialiser will improve the overall wealth in your life so you should practice it often, it can be some of the best ‘work’ you’ll do in life.
Being a Useful Wealth Creator
The best wealth creators are useful people. They often give before they receive, but in doing so they will often receive much, much more. Richard Branson is quite possibly one of the most useful people in the world. He bases his whole business philosophy around finding an industry where people are being under-serviced and overcharged and then he wages war against the competition and wins customers by being more useful than everyone else. The results are spectacular and while he has had failures, his successes have been far greater.
The online community is another great example of usefulness, in fact the web has never failed to provide me with the information I need if I ask it the right question. There are literally thousands of people that make money and even an entire living from being useful on the Internet, which is actually a huge achievement given the level of free content available.
What these people have realised is that usefulness equates to trust and while someone might be able buy something from an infinite number of sources, they are far more likely to get it from someone they know. Because people are used to finding almost anything they need online and often for free, online wealth creators need to be insanely useful in order to get noticed and build trust.
The number of resources you can find for free online is nothing short of amazing, but useful people still find a way to develop fantastic communities and develop products tailored to meet their specific needs. Chris Guillebeau is a prime example of this, he calls it being awesome.
How are You Useful?
In order to answer this question, you really need to know what it is you want to do and where you want to go. If you want to be an employee, then don’t just be good, be awesome! Being an awesomely useful employee will still make you a great wealth creator because you will be recognised for your talents and usefulness. The hard work doesn’t stop there though, you still need to practice you wealth fundamentals and be useful to yourself as well.
If you would rather be an entrepreneur, then you better be doubly awesome. There is always a need somewhere for something and you can be of use by offering a service, fulfilling a requirement or solving a problem, but often this only gets you noticed.
Find a way to be needed almost as much as oxygen, have loyal clients or communities that sing your praise where ever they go and then you will know you are being truly useful. Very similar concepts apply to relationships and you should be applying the same level of care to each.
The art of being useful is a skill that requires constant practice, but if you get it right, it will take you a very long way. So how useful are you?
Image by AJC1