If you're like most people I know, you probably don't pay too close attention to the routine speech flight attendants give before a plane takes off. We heard the same speech over and over again and eventually we feel like there's nothing left to learn... Or is there?
I'm not sure exactly what day this was, but it was a few years ago. I was sitting patiently in an airplane waiting for the "usual routine" to begin. But halfway through, I suddenly found myself hearing the exact words I'd heard countless times before... only this time they seemed to mean something entirely different.
"Be sure to secure your own breathing mask before helping others"
While everyone would agree, I'm sure, that the idea behind this makes complete sense...you can't help others (not even children) if you stop breathing yourself. However, taking this simple principle and applying it in other areas of life is not an easy thing to do... without the risk of being perceived as selfish.
If a friend of yours is having money problems, is it your obligation to lend them the money? Even if it means that you have to get that money from your personal line of credit or credit card.
If a group of your closest friends are all getting together on a Saturday to help out a local charity, is it OK for you to say you can't join them because you need to take that extra shift at work to pay your rent?
The simple truth is that you can't help others if you don't help yourself first... even when the alternative doesn't result in your immediate death.