On anything complicated like an addiction, behavioral problems, and continue "non-thinking" behaviors, the odds are high that you will not make a difference.

Assess the potential value but recognize the odds are low and consider going to other things out of which you can get more sure value, taking care of yourself.

Only in rare exceptions does it work out, so assess them carefully and, if you choose to go ahead, make sure you do all you can to learn, plan, and be competent enough to increase the odds to as high as you can.

In other words, be very careful, and be sure to stop as soon as you realize that it won't work, for whatever reason.  Some people are just in denial and/or refuse to think and confront what needs to be handled.

And, so it is!

Just accept that which you cannot change!!!  And move on with your own life!!!

However, watch the line over which you would become an enabler, trapped by yourself (with another's happy complicity) in a life that is, well, a trap, a prison, often invisible yet felt, as misery, upset, anxiety and other real consequences.  Seriously consider reading The Enabler: When Helping Hurts The Ones You Love, Angelyn Miller.


In the following, just try to get the gist of the idea and take any "numbers" as being multiplied correctly and just get an overall impression of one thing being far more valuable than another thing. 


The bottom line on everything you with your time is the well-assessed value that will result from the action.

The simple rule in life is always do that which is of more value for the amount of time than spending that same time on something of lesser value.

We should always, when we finish anything, look for the next item that has the highest value, more than any other thing you can do with the same time.

Choice for an hour:

Do "x" producing 10 value units, or
Do "y" producing 4 value units

Only a "fool" would produce that of lesser value if they knew both value, but people do. But most people aren't fools, they fairly frequently merely do not bother assessing well or they misestimate in many cases.   

They key rule of "productivity" is always, always do first things first, meaning that we should always have harvest the highest value item first and then everything else in descending order of value.  In other words, we should not jump to an item of lower value than what else you could do that is of more value.

You would only go to the lower value item after you've finished all of the other higher value items.


Do not help a person unless it has sufficient high value and only if you have done everything of higher value first.

It is nonsensical in the rational physical world to just do something because one "should" or is stuck in some absolutist non-thinking rule about being "good" or some other vague compelling unquestioned belief.   


It is vital that you carefully estimate what the actual effect will be of your help.

While we are trying hard to help a person, we are in essence trying to "control" their behavior so that they do the right thing.

It is often very true that we cannot control another person - it is beyond our control and often even our ability to convince them of something.

In most cases, it is not worth your time and you should go do something of more sure value.  In many, many cases one has no real control and is only involved in well-meant wishful thinking that has just wasted one's time (and probably the other person). 

Wise people are very selective about who they help and also careful assess whether they are able to be helped and/or whether they can actually help cause something good to happen.  They realize that the odds are that we most often will not be able to control or even influence the other person's behavior.  

So, they don't - not because they are mean in intent - it is because they are smart in assessing where they can do good and where they can't. 

Learn the lessons about trying to control others, persuading others, talking about politics or religion and doing a whole myriad of things that do not produce good results. Learn these lessons well as they will save you alot of time and alot of frustration.   See Control - Use It Powerfully For The Greatest Effect!  Don't Waste It!   Read ALL the related articles as they will save you alot of time that you can use much better elsewhere.  Heed this diligently!!!


Obviously the doubtable odds are a problem.  

If you had a 1/100 chance of helping an acquaintance who has a value to you "10 units" that would be different than trying to help someone you dearly love, who has 2000 units of value to you. 

In the first case, you'd have to help (at 1/100 chance of helping them) 100 people to produce 10 units of value (from the one person you helped by chance.  This would not be a good idea, period.  Limit it as much as you can and do not succumb to senseless "shoulds" or trying to be "good" by helping them - 'cause you aren't really helping them!!!!   [I'd have to spend the effort to help 100 people in order to help one.  If you calculate the average benefit for you efforts per try it would be 10 units of value divided by 100, or an average value of one tenth of a value unit per effort - and that 's a very low payoff that is nonsensical.

In the second case, things become a bit murkier, with low odds but a high payoff IF it works.  So it might be worth a roll of the dice because the average of people having a 1/100 chance of helping a person of a 2,000 value unit would give an average per effort of 20 units. 


If you assess properly that Daniel, let's say has a very low likelihood of changing after 50 years and the odds were 1 out of 100 of success, that means that you've wasted your time 99 times most likely. 

In order for that to be 'worth it' you need to accept it easily without distress if it doesn't work - for you knew it probably wouldn't work.

So, on the extreme you would keep on losing and giving it effort for a long time, costing you alot.  You would have to be able to carefully (non-emotionally) decide if it worth it AND you'd want to make sure that you've done everything else of high value, including taking care of yourself first, for sure!!!!

Assess what is going on and then cut it off if necessary to stop your "pain" and wasted efforts.  As they say, once you realize what's going on, you should realize that you can, analogically, never teach a raccoon to sing, for he'll never learn plus it is likely to piss him off (and at least frustrate you with no payoff).  As the saying goes, it is doesn't work, stop doing it anymore! 

Even if you love the other person.  Let them be as happy as they can be, realize you can't make a difference (or not much), and then go off and give value to yourself.


The answer is not "don't ever help" or any extreme answer.  It is always what is the proper balance?  In other words, is the value of it greater than the value of something else you'd do.  If you are clear about how the value is very low in most cases, it would not even be a contest, as it would certainly not balance anything. 

Yes, do it, if you have done everything else of more value.  You could even afford to "waste" time that is of little value anyway on a high potential value item that has little percentage probability of working, but at a minimal cost.  .


If one's spouse is about to make a poor decision with considerable cost to it in terms of his life value, should you insist absolutely that he not do it.  Should you take a stand, even though you could lose?  (In terms of the long term effect on the relationship, it would probably be diminimus because this is only one of many times something like this has occurred in the past.)  

Of course, if there were zero chance, then it would not be done. 

Because of the great harm that can be done if he continues, it is worthwhile to consider intervening because even low odds on a super high payoff area can produce a high payoff, on average.  (And it still is a gamble and likes to cause some frustration, so be sure to fill up your own emotional tanks first!)

Think and strategize!

Being definite, but not threatening would probably be the best strategy.  Think out the strategy...always, ahead of time.  No anger, no penalizing.  There is no control over the other, so you've got to rely on influence.  Identify the reality and be clear so the person can see the why, rather than dictate or insist, or doing a tirade.  State what you want and why you are concerned.  Ask the other person to do it, but do not demand it.  And accept the low control and low success rate.  Implore but do not demand.

(Put in the search engine, as it is a document that can't be accessed otherwise:  "Making Requests Of Your Partner".  Read also Trying To Correct, Fix And/or Control Others - And Objecting And Demanding And (Accidentally) Harming.)

See the "sage" advice from other disciplines, after the example, but carefully heed the imbalanced view on too much contribution to the unreasonable cost of one's emotional well-being!!!!


For instance, Daniel, our prototypical extreme contributor, does his contribution work virtually regardless of the cost to him. 

He doesn't realize that the game of life is to get the end value of life (happiness, joy, etc.) - the maximum number of good units in his life. 

There are several different "viewing" (viewpoints) points here.  The viewpoint from the world's view and the more important viewpoint of an individuals view.

Let's say we are looking at this from what we assume is God's view and that a particular human's value is much less than the value to all others, then, in that context the sacrifice would be adjudicated as being worth it.  So, we would "have to" sacrifice our life from that point of view.

However, if we thought more deeply about this, we might see that God might come to a different view.  And it would very reasonably be concluded that God gave us a particular way of operating from a human being's point of view.  That view he gave us for operating our lives would be that which caused us to survive better - the "selfish" point of view of our supreme motivation being for each individual to value surviving as the supreme end all and be all of life.  And he gave us the ability to feel good and to feel bad, depending on how we line up with our survival and with successful passing on the genes.

This means that God to not want us to sacrifice ourselves for others, at least in the physical world.  There is no justification, other than social pressure and conditioning, that would lead us to give up our lives or too much of it for the common good (beyond that which would serve us to live better ourselves). 

Yes, He realized that we would have to "sacrifice" having some things in order to get other things of more value - but he surely was not so "unsmart" as to make sacrificing oneself to be an "absolutist" rule, to do it to the ultimate and at great cost.

It is most likely true it is appropriate to sacrifice having a beer for the greater value of having good health, eating better, or something in that range or for helping and/or contributing to others instead of doing things of less (especially) value. 

He probably meant that it would make sense to do "good tradeoffs" of low value actions in order to do things of more value to society and to oneself.  (It "feels" good to help another.)

He, as a compassionate being, would never intend that a person "do sacrifice" as a "good thing" to do in general, like some absolutist generalized rule.  He would not even suggest that we even "do sacrifice and suffer so that others suffer less" - how "unsmart" would that be!!

Why would he want "hurt" or "misery" for any of his humans that he loves beyond any other love. 

Isn't love based on doing good and wishing good for the other? 

Some people have unthinkingly taken on some simplistic concept and made it into an extreme rule that has not been examined for it validity.

His only limit is exhaustion, fatigue, having to fix other areas of life that are in extreme disrepair.  He has no self-management skills at all.  He does not draw the line, determine his own boundaries, determine what is of more value - he just lives per one great big misunderstanding (actually a set of mutually reinforcing erroneous beliefs to the extent he overdoes it to his harm anyway. 

Daniel is an example of a person who has taken the concept of contribution, and self sacrifice (and giving up personal emotional well-being) too far, far beyond all extremes of reasonable thinking


The advice of many disciplines is to not intervene.  "It is not your right to push another person..." 

But, the only criteria in life for what you do is solely based on workability, on producing the right results. 

There is no such thing as a "right" in the real world, as this is only a concept made up by man; this concept is close, and related, to the world of "right/wrong, good/bad" - and the world of "shoulds", of no value in and of itself! 

All of these are often misused, especially as a control device.  [Of course, you have to account for what people think are "rights" as it might affect your life and relationships - you always want to look at the net effect of what you do, even if you don't "believe" in something.  So, even if you know the idea of "rights" is fallacious, you would still only choose to do what will create the most good and workability in your life.]

It is true that the efforts and focus should be first on managing one's own life, as that is pretty much a full time job.  But if you are accomplishing that (or close to it),then all that matter is whether there is an expected value to you of trying to help the other person. 


Never try to teach a raccoon to sing, because:

1.  He will never learn to sing, and

2.  It'll just piss him off.


If you're willing and it does not cost you too much and you think there is good value based on it involving someone important to you, you can consider it.  But it is best, and I think important, to study and figure out the best way to do this, so that you can have better odds of having the effect that you desire.

Giving Advice And Help - Will It Be Effective? Ask Permission? - Will it be worth it?  "Should I do it?" Link into the other pieces from that page:about: 

- Codependency
- Boundaries
- Overstepping
- No payoff
and others.

If you stop before going far enough to understand this, you are wasting the opportunity to solve a significant bit of how things work or don't work in life!!!!


Shall I Help Him Or Fire Him Or Ignore Him? - Choose: Being Dragged Down, Rescuing, Or Upgrading 


Will something of uncertain outcome still be worth doing in certain circumstances.
A "decision under uncertainty' can often make sense!  

See "Maximizing The "Expected Value" Of What You Do In Life" - Some Costs, Yes, But Alot More Value!"