Seeking Out Help is Okay
There are things in life that we do or do not do out of fear of being judged, discredited, or even laughed at, and I’m no stranger to this inaction. In fact, most of the time I still don’t ask for help when I need it, but I hope that publishing this will encourage me to be more willing to put fear aside and embrace the vast amount of help that is available to me.
I recently spent two hours researching an issue I was experiencing while developing an application, and after those two hours, I had found no solution. Before I even started researching I had considered joining an IRC channel that I knew housed over one hundred experienced developers that could help with my issue, but I was too afraid to admit that I needed help. Lo and behold, once I finally mustered up the courage to seek out help from my peers, my issue was solved within fifteen minutes. A friendly developer took time out of his day to troubleshoot my issue, find a solution for me, and educate me on what I had done wrong. I learned more in that fifteen minutes than I did in the two hours prior. If I seek out help more often instead of trying to solve everything on my own, I will probably become a much better developer.
This doesn’t just apply to Web Development either. I recently decided that I’d like to learn more about finances, specifically how to save more effectively, improve my credit, and create a buffer for future savings and investments. Being the active Redditor that I am, I discovered /r/personalfinance and quickly became a daily reader. The problem was that I wasn’t learning any finance related knowledge that would specifically help me improve my financial life, I was merely watching other people receive advice on what to do with their $25,000 savings, or whether they should cosign a mortgage with their mother (the answer to this is no 99.9% of the time by the way). Eventually I had had enough of watching other people improve their financial situation and decided that I needed to improve my own, so I reached out to a frequent poster and he recommended a wonderful and cheap book titled “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” Don’t be fooled by the title, this book isn’t some get rich quick scheme, it is a detailed and insightful look into how finances work, and how to start improving your own finances from the ground up. I originally thought I would be overwhelmed with terms I didn’t understand, but that simply wasn’t the case. I now have a much larger understanding of how finances work and how to begin properly saving and in turn making those savings work for me.
A very good friend of mine once told me to stop being afraid to ask questions. I wouldn’t say that I’ve really taken that to heart, but the times that I have followed his advice have always been the most educational and productive. In just the past two weeks I’ve learned better development practices and have a more than basic understanding of personal finance, all because I just sought out the help I wanted or needed.
I still won’t always follow this advice myself, but please, don’t be afraid to seek out help:
You’ll be surprised by how many people want to see you succeed.