Not Dumb to Ask for Help

November 2 , 2019 . By Tsion Fisseha

It was early in the morning, and I was barely awake. My dad, the surprisingly loud and chirpy morning person, comes and sits beside the bed and says, “Good morning.” I, still trying to figure out what time it is, respond drowsily and pretend to go back to sleep in order to cut the conversation short.

My father, uninterrupted by my lack of interest in the interaction, points toward his phone and asks me a question about a social media feature he was unable to understand. I took the phone, and within seconds, my dad snatches it away and says, “You know what, I will figure it out myself.”

At this point, I have started to get agitated for more reasons than one.  More importantly, I was boiling over with rage, because of the fact that I was woken up to provide my service and immediately got shut down.

Regardless of how benign the altercation was, it made me think about all the times situations like this happen in the real world and how they lead to a point of no return.  Most people are scared of asking for help. They are scared that the perception of people toward them might change, because they asked for a hand or a brain.

And we are also convinced that success and prestige come to those who thrive and work by themselves. And still, others say, “If I receive support, then I have to reciprocate. What if I can't return the favour? What if I don't want to return the favour?”

This is erroneous rhetoric. In fact, many leaders have proved the importance of asking for help when and as needed. An article written about this particular topic says the key is knowing when and how to ask for help and what to do with what’s provided.

Former United States President Barack Obama puts the ideology in perspective with the following quote: “Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new.”

Asking for help does not guarantee success, nor does it always get answers, but it at least eliminates the possibility of not knowing. It might not always be a push in the right direction; it does not even mean that one has to accept every form of help that has been given. But it should put one at ease by proving the point that one is not alone in this world and that two brains are better than one.

A good friend of mine once told me, "When you ask a question or when you ask for help, you might appear to be stupid or dumb for five minutes, but living your life not knowing what it is will guarantee you being stupid for the rest of your life". Asking for help keeps us away from making assumptions and keeps us from allowing our imaginations to run negatively wild. It lets us be a "we" as opposed to the "I" that has been consuming us for quite some time now.

No matter the situation one is put in, no matter how small the case might be or no matter how big of a problem one is facing, remembering that asking for help does not cripple or undermine the one who is asking is a lesson that should be kept near and dear to one’s heart.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 02,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1018]

Tsion Fisseha is a writer and head of foreign languages in the news department at a local TV station. She has been a part of a pan African poetry slam competition representing Ethiopia and is a member of a rock band entitled the Green Manalishi. She can be reached at

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