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Standing Out in a Crowd

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Standing Out

Rarely do people impress me. I don't mean to come off like a prick or have an ego trip, but think about every person you saw today: 10? 25? 50? 100? 1000? 10,000? How many did you ignore, never notice, never think twice about? 99% of them? more?

So today I was impressed by someone looking for a job. We were driving away from a celebration called Meskel and the streets are absolutely packed with people walking. We're moving an inch at a time for 10-15 minutes or so and it's exceptionally stressful as people are banging on the side of the car, jumping on the back, and walking suddenly in-front of the car.

Out of nowhere comes this guy and starts moving people politely out of the way of the car. Moving people left and right, stopping people before they walk in front of the car, he even directed traffic at an intersection helping buses move through so we could eventually go through as well. This guy jogged in front of our car for probably couple hundred kilometers doing this without asking anything of us. At one point we even offered him some money and he refused.

Once we had finally gotten through the crowd, we convinced him to take some money (he even came back and said we gave him far too much!). Only then did he mention he was a driver and was looking for work. He also listed a bunch of other skills he had and jobs that he had performed. We took his contact info and hopefully will find him some work in the future.

Rarely do I see such initiative, helpfulness and humility. Sure, in the back of his mind he had an economic incentive, but he did something nobody else in a crowd of tens of thousands of people did without anyone asking. It also wasn't a common service being provided by people, it was something I have to assume came to his mind on the spot.

So what is the take away from this experience?

  • Being helpful without being asked is endearing
  • Taking action (risk) earns you opportunity (reward)
  • Creativity gets you noticed
  • If you want something, you need to stand out from the crowd

So for everyone hunting for a job, wanting to do something better or generally feeling like a good human being: put yourself out there, help someone, don't be afraid to mention what you might be interested in but don't ever expect anything in return. The worst that happens is you made someone's life better, and that ain't so bad.

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