Helped but Not Helpless

Aussie males have a problem getting the help they need. This is probably true in other cultures as well. It’s the problem of ego and ignorance making people think that to need help makes one ‘helpless’. That thought is not true, and it’s a mental stronghold that needs to be pulled down. So, I’m starting up my bulldozer and pushing straight toward that stupid idea.

Here’s an analogy to help you see what I’m on about. Imagine you like driving your off-road vehicle through the bush (that’s the Aussie word for the scrub, off-road, off-the-beaten-track, wilderness, or whatever you call it). Let’s assume that you drive happily and successfully for several miles until you come to a place where your forward passage is blocked by a fallen tree. At this point you need some help.

Fortunately for you another person comes along and sees your predicament. They help you cut up the fallen tree and pull it out of the way. You thank them and drive on happily for another few miles.

As you enjoy your ‘bush-bashing’ journey you come to a swollen creek and are unsure whether it is safe to cross. You have been warned that there are some deep holes in the creek, but you cannot see where the warning markers are, since the creek is now flooded. After a few minutes of waiting, another vehicle comes along on the other side of the creek. They too are nervous about the depth of the water, but eventually they drive into the creek and manage to get across without incident. You note the place where they crossed and make your crossing there too. Without them realising it, they helped you find a good place to cross.

Yet further down the track you discover that your fuel gauge is broken and you have very little fuel left. You now have too little fuel to get back to the road. Thankfully another vehicle approaches and the driver sells you his spare drum of fuel which enables you to get back home.

Now, in that adventure you required help three separate times. So, does that make you ‘helpless’?

Of course not! Getting help doesn’t make you helpless. You were perfectly capable of making good progress most of the time. You are a competent driver and a good navigator. You struck some hitches along the way and you managed to solve them, with the assistance of others.

And that’s how most of us live our lives. We make good progress most of the time and we get helped out when we get stuck. We call a mechanic when our car needs fixing and we call a plumber when our pipes need fixing. We go to a dentist when our teeth need fixing and we go to an accountant when the books need ‘fixing’ (that’s a joke!). It’s completely normal to need assistance at many points along the way.

Even the awesome professionals need help all the time. Professional tennis stars rely heavily on their coaches, who can’t even play as well as the pro’s do! Most businesses rely on consultants, while medical and legal experts rely on second opinions. The reason we have expensive reference resources in many professions is because people need help from resources outside themselves.

Do you get the picture?

So, why is it that many people cringe at the idea of telling someone they have a problem? Why is it that people think it shameful to admit that they need something explained or that they even need someone to point the way out of their situation?

The blockage is pride. Male ego is another term for it in men. Counsellors recognise that women are far more likely to seek help and be open about their problems than men are. But there’s no real reason to be coy about getting the help we need. Help is not only needed by everyone, the most successful people build a team of helpers around them, to cover for all the possible contingencies.

Take a look at a top formula one racing team and look at the amount of ‘help’ that goes into enabling the top drivers to get into the points. Engineering, design, pit crew, race strategists, sports psychologists, tyre technologists, analysts and so on, are all built into a winning team. That’s an abundance of ‘help’, but that doesn’t make us jeer at the Hamiltons, Schumachers, Senna’s or Alonzo’s.

Guys, it’s time to get real and to pull down the idea that getting help makes you helpless. Getting help makes you successful and proves how smart you are. Pretending you are a self-made man and can do everything without help is lunacy. It relegates you to the underperformer paddock, where all the also-rans are sent. Real professionals have no qualms about saying, “I want to be the best and I’ll get whatever help I can get to make sure I get to the top!”

It’s time to stop being helpless and to start getting help. Once you cross this swollen creek, or get that obstacle out of your path you will be able to make good progress again and get to the places you always dreamed of reaching.

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