A personal failing of mine involves questions, or more accurately the asking of questions. What makes this so crazy is that I’m curious. I like learning new things, and in certain situations, I’ll ask one question after another. But I’m also big on figuring things out for myself. So sometimes I’ll wander around a store looking for something or spend hours online trying to figure out how to do something new because I do not want to ask the question. At times, my pursuit of self sufficiency gets a bit ridiculous. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t like asking for directions either; I map it out ahead of time.)
However, I’m discovering that refusing to ask questions is costing me in other ways. Sometimes a project gets dragged out for much longer than it needs to be if I’d just asked, but heaven forbid I don’t appear competent or fully knowledgeable on something. Knowing that I have the problem has helped and prompted me to ask questions at times when I wouldn’t have in the past, but it’s also spilled over into other areas.
Asking for Help
Living on one’s own can’t help but make you more willing to experiment and figure out how to do things solo. But, just like my aversion to asking questions, I sometimes go too far. One winter I ordered a new chair. I picked up the new chair from the furniture store and got it to my house. Since my mother knows me so well, she tried to make me promise to wait until I had help to move the chair into the house. I don’t know if I actually promised or just made the reassuring statements that we all tell our mothers. After considering all my options, I decided that it was possible for me to move the chair myself. Luckily I damaged neither myself, the chair, or the house in the process, but there were several moments when I wondered what the hell I was doing and why I didn’t wait for help.
It Feels Like a Weakness
Perhaps I’m in the minority, but asking questions or for help feels like a weakness (even if it’s not). Logically I know this isn’t true, but emotionally it feels very true. By posing the question or request, I’m setting myself up to either be helped or mocked, and for some reason, I assume that the more likely outcome is the latter. This expectation has lessened to a degree as I’ve surrounded myself with real friends over the years, but it hasn’t fully stamped out that tiny kernel of skepticism that I’m better off asking for nothing. It also hasn’t stopped me from wondering about what I’ve missed because I’ve chosen to remain silent.
A Question a Day
In the same vein as an apple a day, I think it may be worthwhile to challenge myself to a question a day, and not just any question, but one that makes me uncomfortable. (And no, it won’t be because the question is tacky.) Few questions will result in anything worse than being told, “No,” and recovering from “no” is doable. But I am tired of wondering, perhaps enough to actually do something, like ask the question.
So here’s my question for today: what get’s in the way of you asking your questions or asking for help?