If you want help, ask for it

by Krishna on March 31, 2007

Some of my friends have asked me to start my jokes by introducing them as such and then saying when they have ended — so that they can laugh at the right time. 🙁 So:

(start) Once upon a time, there was a man who was having some tough times in his life. He could not figure out a solution to his problems. So he prayed to God, “Please let me win the lottery.” However, his situation did not improve. He lost his car a few days later to a creditor. He prayed again, explaining his situation. A few days later, the creditors came again threatening to take away his house. Again, he begged God, “Please God, let me win the lottery. Otherwise, I will lose everything.” Suddenly, he heard a deep voice telling him, “John, please meet me half-way on this. At least buy a lottery ticket.” (end)

The point is that in many situations, although many people are willing to help us, we do not place ourselves in a good position for them to help us. But sometimes, we do not even do what John did — we do not even take the first step to ask for help. Some examples:

  • We assume that people are too busy to help us by looking at a closed door, a powered-off cell phone or a “Busy” status on their IM. In many cases, they may have been busy for some reason, but after that, they forgot to change their outward status. If you want help, knock on the door. Leave a voice message. Buzz the person. If the person is really busy, they will tell you so or get back to you later.
  • We sometimes make assumptions whether someone will help us or not. Instead of asking a simple question, “Can you please do me a favor?”, we tie ourselves in knots and are forced to deal with the situation ourselves.
  • We make our complaint, but we don’t tell the other person what solution we want. This makes the helper try to guess what we want and come up with a wrong or different solution which doesn’t meet our needs. It frustrates both us and the helper.
  • We sometimes think that because someone has not helped us in the past, they may not help us in the future. Unless there was some dispute between you and them, it is very likely that some other factor (not related to you) was responsible. This may have changed now. Very likely, the other person is feeling guilty that they could not help you before and they will be more enthusiastic now.
  • We assume that people in a higher social or professional position will not help us and we nurse irrational grudges against them. Actually, most senior and successful people will do exactly the opposite — they want to have your loyalty, co-operation and respect, which they won’t by rejecting your requests. Most have, in fact, go to the top by being of help to others.

Human beings are social creatures. Most people value community and friendship. They will help if they can. Just ask.

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