Once upon a time, Mike Dolce, a famous dietician and trainer of UFC champions, was approached by one of his laziest student after fitness class whom asked him, “What should I be eating more of: spinach or kale?”
Dolce, a very laid back guy, rolled his eyes and replied, “Dude, just get the fudge* away from me…”
Don’t be an askhole. If you are the laziest person in the gym and you ask a question like the one above, you are not looking for information on how to improve your life, you are looking for approval. You are hoping that the person you are trying to impress did not notice your lackluster performance. Or rather, you hope that if that person you are trying to impress does notice, he or she pats you on the head anyways. It is a defeatist mentality and you are going to push people away.
Approval seeking is the antithesis of building great relationships, especially between mentor and mentee. Such attitudes show the other person that the relationship will be one-sided. The advice giver’s efforts will fall upon deaf years while the advice receiver continues to steal time and energy.
Learning to ask people for help is essential for wellness, great relationships, and success but there are some important etiquette to follow. Asking stupid questions or overwhelming people with questions only lead to resentment and disapproval. Furthermore, its not good for your self growth; even if you get a great answer, you will not apply it.
For starters, do the work. If you have a question, come prepared. Do the homework. Check Google for fudge* sake. People help those who help themselves. When you have received the answer, go apply the lesson before you ask another question.
Second, make it easy to be helped. Do not be negative and have a problem for every solution you receive. Nobody is going to come save you and only you can do that yourself. There are many nice people struggling with mental illness that I have had to turn my back upon because there is nothing left I can do for them. Every piece of advice I give is met with an excuse or a retort. It breaks my heart but in the end of the day, I got stuff to do and I can’t be dragged down by someone who refuses to meet me half way.
Third, do not be competitive. Do not ask questions to test people. Do not ask questions to pit your knowledge against theirs. It is annoying, condescending, and self-righteous.
Fourth, have a clear goal for the interaction. What do you want? Advice? Companionship? Rapport? Have a clear goal in mind for every interaction to avoid awkwardness and misunderstanding.
Fifth, show that you are grateful. Put your appreciation on display by going on out to the real world and applying what you just learned. Go build on the information your mentors give you and truly take ownership of the wisdom you receive. People love answering questions partially out of vanity: we want to see our legacy being continued. People help those who give them that sense of significance.
Now go out there, get curious about the world, meet the right people, and ask the right questions!