We sometimes fear undesirable consequences so much that we risk failure rather than ask for help. Why is asking for help so difficult for so many of us?
Back in school, despite the fact that there were attempts for the curriculum to integrate group work; Most of us were expected to work independently all through our education.
To do otherwise was “cheating.” Somehow we still carry with us a sense that asking for help is a mark of inadequacy.
Then we have our culture, especially the young generation. We learn at a young age that individual accomplishment is most prized, especially if it’s achieved in opposition to conventional wisdom. Asking for help, we “spoil” any chance of becoming the lone hero we so desire to be.
You realize that it’s exactly the type of thinking that feeds into our over-consumption. Being “highly independent” is valued in today’s culture.
But I have learned that being highly independent is actually a myth. There’s no such thing. Instead what happens is that the dependency is transferred from being dependent on other people to being dependent on gadgets, appliances and all the various things that create the illusion that one is highly independent.
So I’m wondering: If I can not easily run for help because of whatever reasons; can I be counted on to give it to the next person who wants it?
Take a case of our work places; we sometimes fear undesirable consequences, especially from those with organizational authority over us.
Even when these fears aren’t supported by actual data, they can be so strong that we risk failure rather than ask for help.
Life is a difficult journey which we all travel, so it can help to know you’re not alone. It does not matter that you have been there, done that. Life is not easy but it’s manageable, and it has the potential for wonderful things. Not asking for help is silly.
I’ve decided to embark on a challenge. I am going to challenge myself to ask for help, and I want it as a life concept.
And I do need help - not because I can’t do it (I’ve learned that I always find a way to cope) - but because it’s good to know someone wants to help.
That’s how supportive communities are created - through the giving and receiving of help. Its time I participated fully in my supportive community.
Recently I got help. It was so enlightening to ask for it. It was extremely liberating to be able to ask for and accept help from others.
I’ve definitely learned that I need to speak up and ask for help. Asking for help has not made me any less of an independent person, just humbling.
The author is a Management Information Systems manager