10 Ways You Can Meaningfully Add Value To The Lives Of Others

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It’s a wonderful thing to be able to add value to the lives of others.

But it doesn’t have to be all about money or material wealth.

We can meaningfully add value by sharing our time, energy, and compassion to contribute to other people’s well-being, success, and personal growth.

Here are 10 ways you can do just that:

1. Ask how you can support them.

We all respond to circumstances in different ways, and the way you prefer to be supported may be frustrating or even damaging to another.

As such, one of the best ways to add value to someone’s life is to ask how you can support them with whatever it is they’re going through.

We might mean well by doing things for others that we would like them to do for us, but that can backfire horribly.

In contrast, when we ask them how we can support them and then follow that up by actually doing what they described, we offer them our time and energy on their terms, not ours.

This will be a lot more helpful than showing up at a grieving person’s door with a casserole full of everything they’re allergic to, or hugging someone in distress when they hate being touched.

2. Be someone they can rely on.

There’s nothing quite like having someone in your life who you know you can count on no matter what.

Knowing that someone has your back in a crisis, will stand up for you if you’re being mistreated, or can step in to help your family in times of need, is worth its weight in gold.

If you can be that person, do it.

One of the best ways to add value to someone’s life is to show them with your actions that they aren’t alone in the world.

So turn up when they need you, and be a voice of reassurance and reason when they’re dealing with chaos.

Step in to take care of their kids when they have something urgent to deal with, or simply be ready to answer your phone in the middle of the night if they call you in the depths of despair.

3. Accept them as they are.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the things that people appreciate most is to simply be accepted as they are, rather than having other people’s expectations placed upon them.

It’s especially important for those who fall outside of what most people consider to be ‘the norm’.

This includes neurodivergent people, disabled people, and LGBTQ+ folks, to name a few.

If you’re kind, inclusive, and respectful towards people irrespective of their perceived ‘differences’, you’ll add immense value not only to their lives but to your own, because of the diverse tapestry of experience they bring.

People who are considered ‘different’ are often misunderstood, treated like outsiders, or pressured to conform to ‘the norm’, so having someone in their life who is kind and genuinely accepting of them could be more meaningful than you’ll ever realize.

4. Support their passions.

Just about everyone has at least one thing they’re passionate about.

If you care about someone, show them that by supporting them in the things they love.

Do this by listening to them while they wax lyrical about their favorite musician, author, or subject matter.

Even if you’re not really into the topic, giving them your attention shows that their interests are important to you, and by extension, that they are important to you.

Similarly, if they start up a business or other venture, encourage them with your actions as well as words.

Buy some of their handmade soaps and share them as gifts with others to spread the word, or recommend their new catering endeavor on your social media accounts, etc.

5. Help make connections for them.

Many people are struggling nowadays and could benefit greatly from whatever strings others can pull in their favor.

As such, if you can make life a bit easier or sweeter for other people by tapping into your social network, do so whenever possible.

For instance, if your friend has written a book and you have connections to someone in the publishing industry, see if you can send along a copy of their manuscript.

If you have the opportunity, weave webs between those who are looking for work and those who need workers.

Many people have their feet in doors that others are clamoring to even get close to.

So if you find yourself in a position where you ‘know a guy’ who can help someone you care about, try to clear a path to that doorway for them.

6. Share your skills with them.

People come and go throughout each other’s lives, but the ones we tend to remember are those who added value to our lives by teaching us something invaluable or unique.

So if you’re particularly skilled in an area, offer to help those in need who have less knowledge. Even better, teach them what you know whilst helping out.

For example, if you’re a pro DIYer but your best friend is hopeless, go round to their place to put up their curtain rail and give them a step-by-step tutorial at the same time.

When you think about the skills you appreciate and use the most often, there’s a good chance you’ll think back fondly on the people who taught you how to do those things.

Every single person has abilities and skills to share, and you’re no exception.

So consider what skills you’re able to teach others, and offer to do so.

7. Introduce them to new experiences.

Your favorite foods, bands, movies, etc. were all completely new to you once.

Do you remember how blown away you felt the first time you heard a particularly moving song? Or how excited you were to taste a flavor you’d never experienced before?

You can bring great value and delight to the lives of others by giving them the chance to explore things they’ve never experienced before.

These might include things like concerts, cultural celebrations or events, foods they’ve never heard of before, or inspiring experiences like watching the sunrise at a beautiful location.

It doesn’t have to involve traveling if that’s not an option.

Simply making a playlist of music to check out, or sharing the details of your favorite TV shows could add more value than you realize.

8. Surprise them (if they’re into it).

You’ll need to tread gently with this one, as it could go either way.

It all depends on whether the people you know are into surprises or not.

Many of us have made the mistake of surprising a friend or coworker with something we thought was fun, only to give that person an unwanted jump scare or put them in a seriously uncomfortable situation.

So before you try this one on someone, casually bring up in conversation a surprise that someone else set up for you and see how they react.

If they say they’d love it if someone did that for them, it’s a good sign they’ll be receptive to your initiatives. If they say they’d freak out if that happened to them, it’s a definite no-go.

If they fall into the first category, you can go ahead and make plans to surprise them with something special.

If they don’t, you can instead arrange with them to do something lovely together—something that the two of you will enjoy, but won’t catch them off guard or cause them any anxiety.

9. Share your wealth, if you can.

There are very few people around who wouldn’t appreciate a bit of help with day-to-day needs and expenses.

As such, if you’re able to help people out by sharing what you have, you may very well be adding immense value to their lives.

Are you investing in any new appliances? Offer your current ones to those who could benefit from them.

Is there a car in your garage that you aren’t using? Consider lending it to a friend.

Did you grow a bumper crop of tomatoes in your garden? Offer some to neighbors or donate them to your local food bank.

Sharing wealth with others doesn’t necessarily mean giving them money or leaving your house to them in your will (but it can if you want).

It can simply encompass sharing what you have with those in need.

10. Be real with them.

We live in a world where pretense and posturing are becoming more commonplace than authenticity.

We often have to contend with fake smiles and hollow platitudes, rather than sincere connection with other human beings.

Most people can tell when you’re being fake or dishonest, and it’s a surefire way to break down trust and connection.  

In contrast, we’re more inclined to trust and respect those who are honest with us, even when they’re telling us things we don’t want to hear.

So if someone comes to you for advice or help, don’t offer hollow platitudes. You don’t have to beat them down, but it’s important to be open and honest, whilst still encouraging and supporting them.

Similarly, if they ask how you’re doing and you’re having a crap time, you don’t have to pretend you’re living your best life.

You don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to or it’s not the right time or place, but it’s ok to admit you’re going through a tough time.

Call people out on poor behavior and apologize for your own when it inevitably happens.

When you live authentically and in line with your truth, it encourages other people to do the same.

And what better way is there to add value to someone’s life than encouraging them to be their amazing, genuine self?

About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.