Lights, Cameras, ACTION: Celebs Taking Altruism to Heart

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Writing checks, headlining the occasional soiree, a photo-op with some charity – These are the common images which come to mind when people think of celebrities and altruism.  With their otherworldly lives, good looks, and sheer fame, can we expect celebrities to empathize, to really get it, when all the rest has gotten to their heads?

Actually, there are many celebrities out there who do!!!  In fact, a roll call of A-listers are putting their energies and passion toward an amazing breadth of causes. For a dose of true celebrity star power, check out this brief list of celebs: Lady Gaga, Brad & Angelina, Mark Wahlberg, and Prince William & Princess Kate to see the dynamic work they are doing for causes they value.

Lady Gaga

Few celebrities combine fashionista, musical talent, global reach and Twitterati quite like Lady Gaga.  Just 25 years old, she’s already a 5-time Grammy award winner, the holder of two Guinness World Records, and She’s closing in on 10 million followers on Twitter @ladygaga – more than any other twitting being on Earth.  With every red carpet cameo, she upends the fashion world with her avant garde ensembles and slightly absurd sensibilities. Lady G is the quintessential 21st century celeb, and with that comes extraordinary altruistic clout!

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Selfless Therapy Part II: Sharing as Giving – A Prisoner’s Perspective

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AltrUHelp

This marks the second post in AltrUHelp’s new series of guest blog posts from industry professionals.  Jordan Nacht is a Mental Health Counselor from New York and a thought leader on the topic of altruism in the therapy arena.

As a mental health counselor who works with parolees, probation and pre-trial clients, I’ve heard countless anecdotes of the horrors of prison life.  As it is with most daunting experiences, there are points of happiness and growth in these perceivably “dark” experiences.  I make it a point to assume a nonjudgmental and unconditionally positive stance toward my clients (which is utterly necessary for any therapist). To do so, I search for these shining lights—redeeming, uplifting moments—however bright or dim.

I often ask my clients a particular question regarding their time in prison: “How did you keep your sanity,” or more pointedly, “how did you maintain the goodness I see inside you while stuck in such a ‘bad’ environment?”  This question can elicit such emotion that clients decline to answer–in which case I revisit the question once a more trusting relationship has been established.  Oftentimes, though, a response comes forth immediately. It never fails to relate to altruism.  In this piece, I will depict some of these experiences, those through which incarcerated persons maintain their humanity. Read More

Selfless Therapy Part I: Insights on Altruism in Mental Health

This post marks the beginning of a new series of guest blog posts from industry professionals. We will be highlighting how altruism plays a role in the careers of several individuals. Today we are spotlighting Jordan Nacht, a Mental Health Counselor from New York on the topic of altruism in the therapy arena. Thank you Jordan for this profound and inspirational post:

Selfless Therapy: Insights on Altruism in Mental Health Part I

As a therapist who works in a private practice, I have encountered the mentally ill and substance abusers in the guise of convicted felons, parolees, average joes, and the elite.  Being out of grad school for only eight months, I am already beginning to reap the rewards of the interaction commonly referred to as “The therapeutic relationship.”  Many clients have inadvertently inspired me in a way I never thought they would, and have done so through the sharing of their selfless experiences.  Now, assuming generalizations from the specifics of each client’s case would be like bringing together thirty differing instruments of varying make, tone, pitch, and intensity to create harmony.  Yet, somehow it works.  To some conductors it just makes sense, and the end result is often an orchestra exuding such power and such awe-inspiring beauty that it can bring tears to the human eye.  If I am this conductor, my clients’ experiences are those instruments, and the harmonious, awe-inspiring product is the conclusion that each of their cathartic experiences shares a common bond – ALTRUISM. Continue reading

Help Japanese Disaster Victims & The Brave Fukushima 50

Our hearts, minds and prayers are with everyone suffering from the Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami that struck this past Friday, March 11, 2011. The earthquake was one of the worst ever recorded, triggering a tsunami that wiped away entire towns and left massive devastation in its wake.

First, we want to highlight the individuals selflessly placing the interest of the Japanese nation before their own. The Fukushima 50 are the team of volunteers currently attempting to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. The team of 50, who have since been joined by 150 others, are sacrificing their health and safety for the greater good of society. Several members of the team are presumed dead, 15 are reported to be injured and others have said they believe the radiation may kill them as they battle to cool overheating nuclear reactors in Japan. Our prayers go out to the families of these brave individuals courageously working to repair the nuclear plant and inspiring altruism worldwide. Click here to learn more.

Secondly, we want to share a really helpful post from Rinth, a fellow WordPress blogger, that highlights how you can help organizations providing food, shelter and medical response to the victims in Japan.

As Rinth highlights, there are three things we should all try to do. Read More

Tap Your Inner Child: The Science Behind Altruism

Do humans have an innate desire to help others without expecting anything in return? It’s a simple question that has tested the wits of scientists and philosophers across millennia, including the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes and Darwin. Now it’s AltruHelp’s turn to weigh in on this perennial question.

Today’s post marks the start of a three-part series examining the emerging research on how humans are naturally altruistic—i.e. how we are innately composed via our brains, genes and neurons to help others selflessly. By looking at recent experiments conducted at leading institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the German-based Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, as well as articles from prominent science and psychology journals, our goal is to shed light on the cognitive, genetic and neurochemical processes that likely combine to make altruism an innate human behavior.

One of the most fascinating areas of research focuses on whether young children have a natural (versus a learned or socialized) willingness to be altruistic. Read More

How Altruistic Are YOU?

AltruHelp
Have you ever wondered why helping someone feels good?  Or why you feel that psychological urge to help somebody even when you aren’t expected to?

Take a moment and think back to an instance when you helped someone and expected nothing in return.  Maybe it was giving directions and information to someone who was lost, or giving up your seat on a bus or train, or lending a hand to someone who was clearly in need.  Remember that brief positive energy you felt after?

What explains this impulse to behave altruistically, and the positive sensation we feel afterward?  Is altruism hard-wired into our brains, a function of morality, or just a way to satisfy our egos by validating that we’re a “good” person?  Is it a learned behavior driven by social mores, karma, or a reflexive process linked to genetics and evolution?

Here at AltrUHelp, we want to explore and inspire altruism – both inside the human mind and in our everyday lives. Read More

Why People Do What They Do (via DIY Fitness) & Action Trumps Everything (via L. Schlesinger)

I recently read a blog post where Lyell of Do It Yourself Fitness highlighted the significance of “seeing people you’ve helped, help those around them…and seeing how all your hard work has a positive effect.”

Lyell’s post reinforces an important topic our team plans to explore: does seeing altruism make individuals more altruistic? Here at AltrUHelp, we feel that seeing is believing, because one altruistic action drives a chain of action. We believe that seeing altruism influences action and encourages others to pay it forward.We’ve all heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words,” but how many of us are bold enough to take that first step towards helping a random individual?

As Leonard Schlesinger, the president of my MBA program at Babson College, highlights in his new AWESOME book Action Trumps Everything, “The future may or may not be like the past, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering how the future will play out if you plan to shape it.” Take that first step as Lyell did below and start your own altruistic chain of action. If your not sure where to start but you know you want to help others, send me an email at Mathew@altruhelp.com and I’ll send you an exclusive invitation to join the Beta launch of AltrUHelp.com this Spring 2011. Join the world’s largest online altruistic social experiment to prove that humans naturally want to help others and be helped themselves because altruism is hardwired to the brain and fun!

Thanks Lyell for sharing this great story with us! We welcome everyone’s comments on this topic as we get closer to launching the AltrUHelp Social Experiment. Thanks for reading!

I was asked the other day, “Hey Lyell, how much money do you make with DIY Fitness?” I gave him a “You’re kidding, right?” laugh and then I noticed…..He was serious. When I explained to him that I make absolutely zero dollars, he gave me an equally sarcastic “You’re kidding me” chuckle. He couldn’t understand why someone would spend so much time helping others and gain nothing from it. What the gentleman didn’t understand was that not everythin … Read More

via DIY Fitness

Community Altruism (via AMY VAN ES)

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Wonderful blog post by Amy Van ES exemplifying altruism exhibited within her community. The story illustrates how people in communities naturally come together to help each other! We will continue to spotlight these inspirational stories as we build our website and prepare for launching the AltrUHelp social experiment. Thank you Amy for sharing this beautiful blog post with us. See Amy’s story below:

As I sat in my car which was stuck atop a snow bank I thought I could get over; baby in the backseat crying; on the phone with my mom; utterly frustrated with myself for getting myself into this situation; a man approached me… Sensing my distress, he asked if he could help. I (obviously) was in no position to refuse help and say I could figure it out. He began to dig. It was about fifteen minutes later that he, too, admitted he couldn’t do it on … Read More

via AMY VAN ES

Make a Difference in Someone’s Life

Helping Homeless AltruHelp

Helping the homeless: You can make a huge difference in someone’s life with just one random act of kindness. Authentic blog post by fellow WordPress blogger Therabidpossum  below:

You can change someone’s life for the good so very easily. Today on my regular commute route to college, I found myself stopping off at a Gregg’s and buying a chicken lattice. As I strolled leisurely up the hill towards the top of town enjoying my (somewhat disappointingly luke-warm) meaty breakfast I remember thinking to myself that today was going to be one of those days again, one of those days where everything goes bad or is otherwise just an … Read More

via therabidpossum

Welcome: AltrUHelp Begins

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Hello New Readers and Welcome Back Loyal Followers!

The catalyst behind this blog and our team’s website (AltrUHelp.com launching soon!) has been our passion for helping others. We believe that people naturally enjoy helping others and want to be helped themselves. We believe the greatest entrepreneurial ideas are those that make a difference in people’s lives, ideas that inspire action to create a greater social good. From the time I learned how to walk I have been fascinated with exploring opportunities that help individuals overcome challenges. My passion for altruism has been a driving force throughout my life but I’ve always wondered how altruistic is the rest of the world? How often are most people willing to place the interests of others before their own?

If you enjoy helping others, volunteering, or you simply want to to make a difference in the world please join AltruHelp.com or subscribe to our blog. You can email me with questions at Mathew@altruhelp.com. Read More