I am Tom Nardone. In spite of what many people believe, I do not know everything. I know, I know, but it’s true. There are many things, I don’t know. At my job, I am asked over a hundred questions a day. Most of the time, I know the answers but when I don’t, I have specific people that I go to for the answer. I think of these people as my “go-to-guys”. I have been at my job for 14 years, so I am a go-to-guy when others run into difficulty. I am all about the help.
“The power of: I Don’t Know”
We live in a world, with clowns who cannot seem to accept the fact, that there are things they don’t know. How in the Hell, can anyone with a brain, have so much pride, that they can’t just say, “I don’t know”? They will BS their way through something rather than ask for help. I think the three most liberating words in the English language are “I don’t know”. These words represent freedom, and provide relief. They release you from the shackles of accountability and responsibility. They prevent the consequences of your would-be-offered advice to loom over your head all day.
Attention morons! This is where the healing begins.
OK, “Scenario Time”. Two guys are working at an auto part store. I will of course play the role of the intelligent life form, and compare it to a wannabe know-it-all. Neither one of us have ever done the job for which this customer needs help.
Customer: Excuse me sir I have a Ford F-150 and I have to change the fuel filter can you tell me what this involves?
Tom Nardone: Actually, sir, I don’t know. I have never done that job before. I would be happy to research it with you, and see if we can figure out what you need to do this.
Wannabe know-it-all: (overhears the conversation and says,) “Sir, all you have to do is loosen the clamps on the hoses, pull your old filter off, put the new filter on, and tighten the clamps back.”
In this scenario, I opted-out. I spared myself from the burden of any, and all, further responsibility or accountability. I used the three magic words “I don’t know” to propel myself into the land of blissful ignorance, where I need not worry. I can go about my day without giving another thought to this.
On the other hand, Mr. Know-it-all, in his attempt to assert his automotive dominance, or even to simply show me up in the face of this customer, he now awaits the outcome of this project. I can tell you, having gone through this exact scenario; the customer is going to be angry because he was not told he needed a special tool to remove the fuel filter. An angry customer is a hell of a price to pay for your own personal pride. The customer did come back and he did raise Hell with this man, but I guess at least, he did not have to say those dreaded three words.
There are many other reasons why people should ask for help. Sometimes you can ask for help, when you really don’t even need help. While I don’t condone all of this, there could easily come a time when this will be of great help to you.
This is the most effective way to manipulate someone; especially men. Sometimes it is very helpful to ask someone a question for which you know the answer, just to massage their ego and put them in a position of superiority. Your needy line of specific questions to someone, if asked correctly, can empower this person. This is very helpful if you need them to make a decision. They might be the kind of person who will pass the buck, because they do not wish to make this choice. Once you get their ego tuned in correctly, they will bend at your will.
Sometimes you might need someone to like you. Maybe they have an extra ticket to the upcoming Mötley Crüe concert, or they are friends with some one that can help you advance your career. Asking this person for help will empower them to feel needed, and intelligent. Wouldn’t you want to be friends with someone that thought you were relevant or intelligent? Of course you would.
“Distorting the Truth”
Sometimes it is helpful to ask questions about things for which you could not care less about the answer. This is helpful at a job that you hate. If things are looking shaky for you, asking a bunch of questions about the best methods and practices to effectively do your job, can make you appear to be a conscientious employee. Every employer loves the caring committed employee. It is so much more rewarding to be at a job that you don’t care about, while you have your boss convinced that you do.
Maybe you have a not so great marriage, and your spouse feels that you are not interested in them anymore. Maybe you are or maybe you are not. Regardless of the truth, asking for help from your spouse, shows that you do have great interest in there opinion. They feel great, you don’t have to be burdened, with the complaining any longer. I really am having difficulty identifying the down-side in this scenario.
Shockingly there are those who will just not ask for help, but why? I think it is their pride. I Think some people view asking for help as defeat or failure. They want to be self-reliant. I, personally, do not have a need for such things. I don’t see the need to waste my time or re-invent the wheel. I just wrote a book a few weeks ago. I did not have a clue how to begin. I turned to my friend Val. She got me straightened out. I did not know how to format MS Word so that my book would be, properly formatted. I knew Val would know, and she did. She walked me through the formatting process over the phone, and it took a total of about two minutes. Six days later, my book was complete.
The stereotype is that “real men” do not stop for directions. The truth is that stupid men don’t stop and ask for directions, but “real men” make it to the movie theater in time to see the opening preview trailers. If getting to where I am going, is done at the expense of not being considered a real man, then so be it.
People need people, and people need to be needed. I love asking for help. This is my default response to many of my questions. If given the choice, I would much rather ask questions than answer them.
I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.
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- The Passive Aggressor: Artist or Asshole? (tomnardone.net)
- How to Pass a Job Interview Successfully? (ayojideonline.com)
- 30 Thought-Provoking Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Day (lifehack.org)