Three Important Resources for a Better 2021
January 25, 2021
Three Important Resources for a Better 2021
January 26, 2021

Joe Biden and the Nedlog Rule


From President Biden’s first inaugural address Other than the brilliant poem by Amanda Gorman, this comment from Joe Biden’s inaugural address was the highlight for me. The only way we will ultimately resolve the manifold crises facing our world is by reaching out to help others in need, and by asking for help when we are the ones in need.

I’m sure you are familiar with The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. There’s a reason that, in one form or another, this rule appears in almost every spiritual tradition – because helping other people the way you wish they would help you is the right thing to do.

The Nedlog Rule is The Golden Rule in reverse – Nedlog is the word Golden spelled backwards. It’s an essential corollary because in order for you to be able to serve others, you must periodically ask others to help you. The Nedlog Rule says: Whatever you would be willing to do for someone else if they asked, be willing to ask for the same help when you need it.
In healthcare we ask “who cares for the caregiver?” It’s an important question because, as is often said, you cannot pour out of an empty pitcher. It’s wisdom as ancient as the I Ching, which says that just as every now and then a well needs to be taken out of service and relined, so too a person needs to periodically be renewed and refilled.
In our Lone Ranger culture, we are often reluctant to ask for the help we need. We mistakenly think it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. But actually, the reverse is true. It takes a strong person to ask others for help.  

Think of how much more positive and productive our organizations – and our families – would be if everyone were to practice The Nedlog Rule.

Passive-aggressive behavior would be replaced by people openly asking for help before they become overwhelmed, asking for a break before they reached the breaking point.
Chronic complaining would be replaced by people asking for help to fix problems that can be fixed and for support to cope with predicaments that are beyond immediate solution (a restatement of the Serenity Prayer).

Most importantly, people would dream bigger dreams, take on more daring risks, and make more substantial commitments knowing that they didn’t have to do it all alone but could ask for the help they need.Here’s the paradox, and the best part of the whole equation: Any time one person reaches out to help another, two people are helped. You cannot help someone else without in some way being helped yourself. In AA it’s referred to as the principle of mutuality: helping one helps two. Always.

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