We were taught to try to solve a problem ourselves before asking for help. Remember the bosses (and parents) of bygone years? Don’t come to me with a problem unless you have a solution. Perhaps that’s why the current tendency to immediately ask “who is going to take care of this?” concerns me.
Some suggest I have become a curmudgeon. Others suggest I have it all wrong. Asking for help first is easier and faster, they say. Our sons recall the stock answer when they had a problem was, “And what do you plan to do about it?” “What would you do if we weren’t here?” Maybe I was a curmudgeon in training.
Oh, we wanted to help. We would have relished it. Why didn’t we? Because we believed solving someone’s problems before they try their own solution robs them of a learning opportunity. It diminishes their self -confidence. It teaches them to rely on someone else. They become dependent, instead of independent. They must be able to take care of themselves.
Our startup year in business, we had no money, no equity, no real experience. Yet, we believed the bank should or would lend us money. It didn’t happen. And that was a good thing. We learned a lot from that banker who turned us down. He made us face business reality.
Preventing someone from trying to solve their own problems is like not allowing them to learn. Failing is learning. Success is learning. Both spur us to help others help themselves.
Give a person a fish … you know the rest of the story.
Gone fishing …
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