Hand-Out vs. Hand-Up
John L. Terry, III - The Black Belt Leader
Having spent a lot of time training sales professionals, including those in the financial services industry, over my 30+ years as a coach and trainer, I've learned quite a few things about how people manage (or mismanaged) money. I can't tell you the number of horror stories I've heard regarding beneficiaries who received an inheritance from a deceased relative, only to blow through that money with little or nothing to show for it.
I've heard similar stories from individuals I've met who worked in the gambling industry. Multitudes travel to Vegas, Atlantic City, or other meccas of gambling in hopes of pulling the one-armed bandit and hitting the jackpot, scoring the winning hand at the blackjack or poker tables, or rolling that winning combination at the craps table. Most walk away empty-handed, but for the few who do "win it big", the vast majority tend to spend their winnings recklessly, only to return to "try their luck" at winning one more time.
I've spent time over the years working with nonprofit groups in some of America's inner cities and in poverty-stricken areas of the world. I've watched as these amazing groups of volunteers do what they can to make the lives of people who are trapped in the welfare system better, but see much of their efforts making little or no difference, as hopelessness from decades of failed (and often abusive) government programs and politicians, failed public schools, fractured families, and crime-ridden streets is rampant.
No matter how much these nonprofit organizations give to make a difference, the handouts the people receive only make their lives better in the short-term. The underlying system that feeds this entrapment has created a dependency on governmental handouts that only perpetuates the status quo of hopelessness.
Handouts don't work. While they may make things better in the short-term, handouts are often not really valued or appreciated, as they have come to be expected. Handouts are often misused, and fail to improve an individual's position long-term for the better. It perpetuates a mindset of dependency, entrapment, and hopelessness.
A dependency mindset is a dangerous thing, as it feeds an unhealthy disdain toward those who are not in the same situation they are. Unchecked, this disdain can morph into anger and hatred that brings out some of the worst qualities in humanity, pitting one group of people against another.
When people's dreams are shattered, their thinking is limited, they only see the world as it is. A handout may make things better for the moment, but it doesn't change the status quo. Therefore, nothing changes, nothing gets better.
Until you can see the world as it could be, you fail to see the opportunity before you. And until you see the opportunity before you, you can't pursue it to bring about lasting change.
People with a dependency mindset have been conditioned to expect the handout. It causes them to feel devalued, unimportant, and often unwanted. This often leaves them frustrated, angry, and resentful - questioning WHY they can't be given more. If the condition is allowed to fester long enough, those with a dependency mindset begin to believe it is their RIGHT to demand that those who have give to those who don't.
Handouts don't work. They don't make lasting improvements in a person's situation. Until you change the mindset from a dependency focus to an opportunity focus, it doesn't matter how much money or resources they are given, nothing changes. Until limited-thinking becomes possibility-thinking, people remain trapped, prisoners of their own minds.
Simply giving people resources (a handout) without the knowledge, wisdom, and training to use them efficiently and effectively results in these resources being squandered, abused, or misused. It ultimately fails to improve the situation of the people the resources were intended to help, leaving them frustrated, angry, resentful, and still wanting more.
Rather than continuing to focus on handouts, leaders shift the attention to giving others a Hand-Up. James Allen said it right when he echoed the words of King Solomon of ancient times, "As a man thinketh, so is he." If you think you are defeated, you are. If you think you are successful, you are. As you think, you become.
Your mind, like a magnet, attracts to it the resources necessary to make your thoughts become reality. Great strides have been made in parts of Africa by teaching values-based leadership in schools, training young men and women to not see the world as it is, but as it could be. As they are taught to envision a better future for themselves, their eyes are open to see the resources before them (that have always been there) to turn thoughts into reality.
When you give someone a Hand-Up, you empower them to see something inside themselves they did not see before, to see an opportunity before them that did not exist, to believe they are capable of something more than they believed they were capable of doing. You release their creative consciousness to see the unlimited potential before them, and the resources that are required to make that become a reality suddenly begin to appear.
But giving someone a Hands-Up requires that you invest yourself in another person. You, as a leader, come alongside them, mentoring and encouraging them along the way. Serving as an accountability partner, a teacher, and a trainer.
History is full of stories of people who started their lives in humble beginnings, but who refused to simply see life as it was. They chose to see life as it could be and set their minds to pursue it - to make what could be become their new reality.
Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Larry Ellison, and John Paul DeJoria to name a few. All came from humble beginnings, chose to believe in themselves and their potential, refused to accept the status quo existence of their lives, and pursued their dream.
These individuals gave themselves a Hand-Up. They also found, followed, and learned from other successful men and women who took the time to inspire, encourage, uplift, train, coach, mentor, and motivate them to pursue possibility-thinking and pursue the world that could be. They did it, and you can too.
Handouts work in the short-term. Handouts are easy. Giving someone a Hands-Up is harder, but much more rewarding. If we all made it our mission to help one person get a Hands-Up in life, change their thinking for the better, to learn to see the world as it could be and pursue it - this world would be a dramatically different, amazing place.
It starts with you. Give yourself a Hands-Up, and then do the same for someone else.
Go change the world!
2X martial arts Hall of Fame inductee, John Terry – The Black Belt Leader is passionate about helping others become Black Belt Leaders in Life. He is a motivational speaker, leadership, sales & communication coach, and trainer.
Jessie Terry, John's daughter, is a Certified Speaker, Coach, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team and is actively involved in the JMT Global Youth Initiative. She is also a Real-Life Management trained coach and a certified Women-Safe Self-Defense Instructor.
For more information, schedule John (or Jessie) to speak to your organization or to book a personal, group or corporate coaching session, visit our website at www.beablackbeltleader.com.
If you are a faith-based organization, learn more about John and Jessie's outreach to churches, para-church organizations, or faith-based volunteer groups by visiting www.DunamisFactor.com.
John is an Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team and is passionate about helping others pursue excellence as they become "Leaders in Life". He is also a Master Coach & Trainer with Real Life Management, a human behavioral and psychometrics training organization helping people learn how to live "Real Life" and make better choices when it comes to relationships, money, health, and wellness. John is also a certified DISC Human Behavior Consultant.