Even as a small kid I had always been a loner. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was an only child and the only real friends I had were the ones who I used to play cricket and football with. And given the physical nature of these games and the extremely competitive mindset with which young boys usually approach sport, it was a given that I hated to lose, I hated to display any weakness on the field and the notion that ‘boys don’t cry’ was firmly entrenched in my mind.
This attitude coupled with the peer pressure to maintain an image of being infallible and heroic meant that from a very young age, I have always hesitated to admit my lack of knowledge or skills in a particular field or subject. Even in the few instances that I really lacked knowledge such as math and a few other academic ones, I convinced my parents to enroll me into tuitions citing the fact that since my friends had enrolled for the same, it made sense for me also to do so, if not for anything else, at least to ensure that I don’t get left behind in the rat race for marks.
As time went by and as I realized that there were more than a few things around which I had no clue about and for which I had to rely on others who knew more about the subject than me, it dawned on me that there simply was no way that I could go on living without approaching anybody for assistance. And even then, the entire process of me approaching somebody who was an expert or knew something better than me, and asking them to help me out was not something that naturally came to me.
However, a few good friends and well intentioned college-mates put me in my place and in their own firm ways ensured that I swallowed my pride, ate humble pie and took help as and when necessary. Despite this, the fact remains that it took a corporate environment and my first job to realize how woefully at sea I was when it came to ‘the real world’ and real life situations which demanded asking for assistance.
My first supervisor, my first mentor and really good friend back then was someone who called a spade a spade and ensured that I clearly understood the fact that there were more than a few things, in fact there was an entire world of information out there for which I would clearly have to rely on subject matter experts, and that the only way they would assist me would be if I actually approached them with clear cut requests as to what I needed their help for. Although it took me a while to learn, I will be grateful to him for having taught me that important lesson in life, to ask for help when I needed it the most.
In fact, over the past few years, as I have grown older and hopefully wiser as well, it has become easier for me to recognize when I need assistance and yes, I have grown better at asking for it when I need it. Obviously I don’t go around asking anybody and everybody for help, but tend to rely on a few trusted friends and confidantes for the same, and I know for sure that these people will at least guide me in the right direction even if they are not able to help me out personally. And there isn’t a single day when I don’t thank God, fate or destiny (whatever you believe in) for these friends and confidantes.
So, what about you folks? How easy is it for you to ask for help when you need it? Or are you the type of person who relies only on yourself to get things done? Let the rest of us know in the comments section.
This post has been written for Project 365 : A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was “Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely on yourself? Why?”