Today’s quote falls into the “old wisdom” category. It’s a Chinese Proverb:
“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”
In our “independence culture,” asking for help has somehow become an indication of weakness or insufficiency. Nothing could be further from the truth! When we don’t know something, asking an informed third party is often the quickest way to move forward.
Fortunately, in the era of search engines, we have access to free information in a way that we never have before. Of course, not everything we read is helpful, but the internet is an easy place to start. An even better approach is to ask someone who has personal, experiential knowledge to help us. In fact, knowing that we have “someone to call” empowers us to take a risk.
I think back to the days when I was first learning to use a computer. I was a freshman in college, and this cute boy suggested I buy a machine called a “Mac Plus.” (Yes, I’m dating myself.) Somehow, I also convinced my parents that I needed this device, and after a trip to the college bookstore, I had one on my desk. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to use it. Naturally, I needed to invite the cute boy to come over all the time (wink, wink) to help me learn, which he did. (Yes, he’s now my husband of 30+ years). Not only did he come over for tutorials, but he was always willing to help anytime I hit a wrong key, or the machine did something unexpected, or I was afraid of crashing the system, etc. He was my “phone-a-friend.” Since I knew he could get me back on track if I messed up, I was willing to try.
Do you a goal or aspiration but you aren’t sure how to proceed? Maybe you fear making a costly error, or worry about making a situation worse? Today’s challenge is to identify a person or resource who can be there if things run off the rails. This could be a friend, colleague, individual you know from a community group, member of an online network, family member, or other connection. You may even want to go ahead and hire someone with professional knowledge. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your questions. Rather than pretend that you know what you are doing, be bold about what you do not know and invite others into your life to educate you.
This is how we acquire skills and make progress.
Are you willing to admit when you don’t know what to do? On whom do you lean when you need help?