“I can do it, I don’t need any help!”
How many times have we heard a child say this, determined not to look as if he need any help anyone else? How many times have we said this ourselves and for much the same reason?
We live in a world today that celebrates and lifts up individualism. While not a bad thing in some circumstances, the concept of teamwork has all but been set aside and the idea that if we can accomplish something on our own then it will be looked upon by others as more impressive has taken hold. In a world that celebrates “look at me” with such distinction and support, it’s no wonder that we as individuals also think that we will be more accomplished if we can say that we did it without help. Unfortunately this is one of those horrible lies in life that we all have come to not only believe but to also strive for. It may sound like a good thing but in the end it isn’t anything you would do over if you had the chance.
In today’s “me me me” society, we seem to brandish this “I didn’t need help” thought as if it were some source of power that we draw strength. For most people this lie even has us convinced that if we were to actually ask for help, it will somehow make us look dependent and weak. We’ve been deceived to believe it makes us feel as though we are not smart enough or good enough or possibly not worthy enough of the success we seek. So, instead of seeking guidance and support and the wisdom of someone that has been down the road we are embarking on we tend to go it alone, doing whatever it takes because by doing it that way we feel like we are accomplishing something all of our own efforts; Maybe even as though we are achieving something others saw as impossible or something they didn’t think we could do in the first place. By doing it alone we feel a false sense of greater accomplishment while also believing others will be more impressed because of it.
Now here is the real truth …believe it or not, it will never be the case that you are going to do something or walk down a path so unique that no one has ever been there before or at least been in a situation similar enough to be able to offer some advise that could catapult you forward far more than you ever imagined…if you would only seek it.
Doing something on our own will temporarily give us the feeling of being empowered and strong but at the same time it will eventually leave us with an emptiness about our life and a feeling as if we really are alone in our efforts.
And the simple fact is… that whatever it is that we ultimately achieve on our own is seldom ever quite as good, as refined, as complete or even accomplished as quickly had we sought a little help and guidance from others along the way. And the further truth is that anything we achieve, whether we claim to have done it alone or not, is ultimately not ever done completely alone anyway. Now, think about that.
We live in such an age of technology that nearly any information you could ever want and sometimes information we don’t want is at our finger tips. We don’t even need to be at a computer any more, we have the full power of the internet usually in our hands. This unprecedented ease of access to information allows us to feel empowered and knowledgeable beyond our own experience, but are we really? In reality it isolates us from one resource that the internet will never allow you to access.
Let me tell you a story about a little boy. This little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his box of cars and trucks, a plastic pail, and a red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the sandbox, right in the middle of where he wanted to put a road.
The boy dug around the rock, managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With a little more effort, he pushed and rolled that large rock across the sandbox by using his feet. When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, he found that it was too heavy and he couldn’t lift it up and over the wall of sandbox.
But determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he was getting somewhere, the rock would fall back into the sandbox. The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed, & shoved, but the only reward he got was to have that rock roll back into the sandbox over and over again.
Finally he burst into tears of frustration. But, all this time, the boy’s father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded. And at the moment the tears began to fall, a large shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy’s father. Gently but firmly he said, “Son, why didn’t you use all the strength that you had available?”
With tears in his eyes the boy looked up at his dad and said, “But I did, Daddy, I did! I used all the strength that I had and all the tools I could find but I just couldn’t lift it. It was too heavy”
Softly the father said “No, son, you didn’t use ALL your strength”, with that the father reached down, picked up the rock and removed it from the sandbox then said, “You didn’t use all the strength you had because you didn’t ask me to help.”
As an entrepreneur I tend to fail a lot but one thing I know for certain is that that failure is simply part of the process of success. One of the greatest lessons of value I ever learned was how to utilize all the resources I had at my disposal in order to make the project work. In my young life I always thought this meant things like tools and software, you know, things money had to by. I also thought it meant facilities and other material things. I even had in mind that this might even mean hiring someone to do something I needed done. But these were things I couldn’t always afford so more often than not I used the lack of these resources as an excuse when I did fail, and I failed a LOT, while all along overlooking and never even considering the greatest resource I had at my disposal all along… help from others. I mean, after all, if someone else helped me that would mean that it wasn’t really MY accomplishment now was it? And I secretly didn’t want to share that spotlight or that triumph of such a struggle with anyone else. Beside who would want to help me when they were busy doing things of their own. And my worse thought, well, fear would be more like it, was that whomever I asked for help may steal not just my idea but my thunder as well. Sounds foolish doesn’t it?
It took a long time but I finally realized how wiling others, even strangers, were to help me out with their time, resources and wisdom if I only asked. And they had no other motive than a willingness to help because it made them feel good and as if they had something to offer someone else. Helping me gave them a sense of meaning about their experience and had nothing to do with them stealing my idea or my thunder. Other peoples help was and still is the greatest strength I have ever discovered and the best thing was, most of the time that strength- that help – didn’t cost a thing at all.
Your strength isn’t revealed when you do things alone, it is revealed when you begin working with others towards a common goal.
Maybe it is YOUR goal and not specifically theirs but when you work in tangent with others, when they offer something as simple as a hand, a piece of wisdom or even a subjective view on something, this is when true strength appears. This is when success begins to show off in bigger ways then you ever imagined. When the task in front of you seems a little daunting and you begin to feel a little frazzled, perhaps it is simply because you aren’t using all your strengths.
We all have something to share. Perhaps it’s your time, talent, wisdom or experience, or maybe its people you know, a special skill you have, or resources to which you have access. No matter what it is, you and people around you always have something to offer as additional strength to someone else. And guess what? Most people love to share their wisdom, their time and their experience with others” I know that I do! We can always do so much more when we work together than we ever can achieve when going it alone.
I recently read an article about an interview with a woman named Janine Garner. She is the author of From Me To We, In the interview she talked about how important it is to risk the possibility of seeming needy, or even of being rejected, when we reach out to ask for help when we need it. Not only can it help us get through the tough times, but it also gives others the opportunity to make a difference while helping them feel more comfortable to ask for help themselves. Not only that, but as Janine said in the article, “When we support other people to be more successful, we discover opportunities for collaboration that ultimately enable us to be more successful ourselves.”
In the end, by asking for help …. Everyone is better off.
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Go! Make a difference in someones life today. Be the Blessing!
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