Individualism is a defining characteristic of American society. People in this country not only believe that success is attainable if one puts his best efforts forward, but are conditioned to think those efforts that garner the most respect and are at times considered “real” achievements are those that involve the struggle of a hero going it alone. The rugged cowboy and the self-made millionaire are two images that come to mind. It is because of this that many people fear being seen as vulnerable or weak by asking for assistance in getting where they want to be, in doing something that is important to them.
However, by going it alone, one is denying the full spectrum of resources one has at his or her disposal. Each of us has many people in our lives that have specific talents and expertise that can assist us in moving forward with velocity. Why reinvent the stone wheel when someone has already become an expert at manufacturing steel-belted radials?
Few of us would consider performing her own root canal or defending himself in court – there are individuals with specific training and skills that are better able to take on these activities. Yet, it can be common for us to overlook the fact that we are surrounded by people in our lives (some that we can even hire) that could help us to accomplish some of the goals we set for ourselves – often more quickly and easily.
Ultimately, asking for help is a sign of intelligence and courage. We would never consider pounding a nail into the wall with our fist. Why would we deny ourselves the ability to be more efficient with our time and energy by allowing pride and fear of others’ opinions to dictate how we get from point A to point B. A smart person is one who recognizes the tools and resources she has at her disposal and puts them to the best use possible. And sometimes that starts with asking for help.