The Art of Asking for Help – Who knows what?!?

I used to feel extremely humiliated when I have to ask for help.  What’s worse was when I had to reach over to my (secret) arch-enemy in 9th grade Algebra Trigonometry class to ask him for help.  Oh! The humiliation!  He was always happy to help me, but it was because of my inflated ego that ballooned way too big, making it very, very difficult for me to be humble enough to seek for assistance.  I would be extremely frustrated with myself and imagined my arch enemy sneering at me as I struggled to untangle this monstrous math equation.  That’s how I lived through middle school and high school, I always had this foolish idea that I’m smarter than everyone else and no one could possibly be smart enough to be of any help to me.  Boy, was I wrong!  There’s that one day when I got stuck on a math problem that even I can not solve.  I could not even match up to my own standards!  How embarrassing was that?!

I have to admit, it was the first time I had to deflate my ego and muster what self-respect I had left to admit to myself that I didn’t understand the problem.  The next step was to ask my classmate for help.  Thinking back on my school days, I was just being silly.  However, these experiences helped me come up with these 6 steps for how to ask effectively.

Please keep in mind that asking for help is a two-way street!  Here’s how you start!

1. Identify the problem 

The only way to solve a problem is to know what is the problem.  If you can not pinpoint what’s the problem, then it will be difficult to find the best fitting solution.  While asking your “expert,” always keep the problem in mind.

2. Acknowledge you don’t know the subject.

It sounds easy but it is not at all.  When I had my inflated ego, it made me less receptive to new ideas and ignorant of the problem.  My mind would find ways to deny that I don’t know about the subject and would make up things for what it’s lacking.  Don’t you find yourself making up weird explanations when you can’t answer a question?  Exactly.  If you can catch yourself before your mind makes up excuses or explanations for you, you find out what you don’t know.  As a result, you will be more open to novel ideas from others.

3. Be curious

Once you know the problem, and be open to new ideas from other people, you should definitely crank up your curiosity.  Think like a kid, question things that your mind draws blank lines to which you can’t answer.  Once the first few questions pop up in your mind, several more will surely follow, I promise.  😀  As your “expert” answers your questions, create different paths with the stones given to you.  By doing so, your creativity will help you find the best solution to your problem.

4.  Know your “expert”   

Definition: “expert” – The person who may or may not have all the answers. Be nice to him/her

Hmmm, how many times have we been frustrated or confused when our teachers gave us the wrong answer or pointless answers to our questions?  Many times!  If you know your “expert,” you should definitely phrase your questions in a way that he or she can understand what you are asking.  If the person does not understand your questions, it will be difficult to get anywhere with the information given to you.  Be flexible, rephrase questions for when the questions are not clear or concise enough.  I find that if the questions are not clear, I give examples and definitions to give alternative ways to help the “expert” understand my problem.

5. Be patient and grateful

Being patient with your “expert” is very important.  If it takes you a while to understand your problem and phrasing your questions, it does take the person you are asking, some time to be in the same context as you.  Being patient is beneficial for both people because there’s less stress between you two, therefore, he or she will likely be able to think and answer your questions precisely.  Think about it, if I rudely ask you a question and I ask you to give me the answer QUICK! You may end up ignoring me!  I will be even more stressed and annoyed!  Don’t forget to be grateful that he or she is taking time out of his or her busy or not-so-busy schedule to help you.  Regardless whether the information he or she provides is useful to you or not, always thank him or her. Don’t burn bridges by insulting him or her if your “expert” is not useful to you…yet!

6. Return the favor

Most of the time, people do not expect you to return the favor when they helped you out.  However, helping the other person is a mutual relationship.  Although you are not of any help to your “expert” now, later on, he or she can ask for that favor from you.  I always try to return the favor as soon as possible because that way, I don’t forget, and it shows that I’m eager to help, when I can.

These six steps have helped me many times and I believe I no longer have that silly inflated ego anymore (hopefully.)  I’m more humble because I can readily admit I do not know certain subjects and I’m not afraid to ask.  I make sure there’s always a reason to my questions, and I try to make good use of the answers given to me.  Most of the time, I guide my “expert” with my questions, this allows me to keep the goal in sight.  I hope this is helpful to you!

***Side story:  What’s sweet was that my arch enemy had a crush on me so he was always happy to help me.  He asked me out one time and I didn’t really understand what “going out” was, so I told him I had to work on math homework.  What’s sour was that my house got egged later that week.  You do the math.

Forgotten passions

Forgotten passions

Lately, my life has been busy but wonderful, nonetheless.  I have many, many exciting moments of joy, laughter, love, and awkwardness.  My career has been going well; my persistence and efforts paid off.  I got the opportunities to obtain more time sensitive tasks and attention from my upper management.  It’s amazing to know that I’m no longer a forgotten, working gear that’s creaking quietly in a corner.  Now, I’m being dusted off and shined!  Maybe I’m doing something right, I should definitely continue to put out 110% effort in my career.  Some nights, I’m tired, but still overwhelmed with happiness.

For the past month or so, I spent some quality time my little sister, who was home for the winter break.  We talked about money, school, friends, and boys.  I’m kinda sad to see that my sister is no longer a little 7 year-old girl who readily believed in my fantastic ventriloquism.  I have to admit, I was a superb ventriloquist.  I made her childhood a living nightmare that was filled with tears and nonsensical conflicts caused by her favorite bossy and annoying stuffed Labrador Retriever, Fifi.  Of course, now she tortures me with her endless teasing and puppy faces that I can’t resist.  Many times I caved in to her invitations to eat out, going to spa, and shopping, it’s breaking my bank!  (Gosh, I need to figure out how to resist this…cute devil!)

When Christmas passed, “he” came, nah let’s say stumbled…rolled…uhm ok, walked into my life.  There were definitely LOTS of awkward moments.  It was full of silly jokes, laughters, and of course, countless mini heart palpitations.  We went on an explosive number of date nights consisting of ice skating, movies, drinks, and eating out.   While I was trying to juggle work life, family life, and personal life, “he” made everything around me feel so effortless and worthwhile.  I’m very grateful that someone as wonderful as him exists.  “He” is the best fitting lid to my pan so far! 😀

Today, my cousin, who I considered as my older brother, spent some time with me to catch up on things since we haven’t seen each other in a month.  He is awesome.  My cousin is always supportive and he never fails to give me his male perspectives on life.  I really enjoy being with him because he tolerates (hehe) my quirky comments and spontaneous spurs to do things that are definitely out of his comfort zone (i.e. going to shooting range.)

Usually when I write, I want to share meaningful advices or things that brighten everyone’s days.  However, on this post, I want to be selfish and talk about my passions for my career, and loved ones.  I called this title “Forgotten Passions,” not because I forgot.  I want to remind everyone that when you start to forget your passion, you forget how amazing it makes you feel.  Just remember that those moments you share with the people around you or you doing something you enjoy, you can never get them back.  So, if you are passionate about something, cherish them, or if you are like me, share them to the world!

“Improving oneself”

“Improving oneself”

There are many things I want to change about myself…

THINGS I want to improve that I have procrastinated for so long.

I tell my friends, and family about these visions of my self-improvements

BUT these changes have not become actions yet.

If I say it enough times, I start to believe in these words…

and soon enough they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

“Believing that you can change yourself is half the battle.”

“Why frown when you can SMILE?”

Here’s loads of quotes that will convince you why you should smile!

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness ” ― William Arthur Ward

“It takes a lot of energy to be negative. You have to work at it. But smiling is painless. I’d rather spend my energy smiling” ― Eric Davis (former MLB star and cancer survivor)

Smile, it’s the key that fits the lock on everyone’s hearts.

“When I look out at the people and they look at me and they’re smiling, then I know that I’m loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems.” ― Etta James

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ― Mother Teresa

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

“I was smiling yesterday, I am smiling today and I will smile tomorrow. Simply because life is too short to cry for anything.”
― Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday

“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”
― Greta Garbo

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.”
― Charles Chaplin

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

Smile photo link: http://finkorswim.com/2012/01/06/smile-a-guest-post/

Perfectly Imperfect.

Do you ever get bothered by the tiny details that seem to ruin everything?  

Are you afraid to let others take on a part of your tasks because you fear they can’t do it as well as you can?

Do you tend to push yourself to meet your high standards?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you, my friend, are a perfectionist.  My definition of a perfectionist, is the obsession that one has to achieve acceptance from oneself and everyone else.  Perhaps the easiest part in my opinion is achieving acceptance from oneself.  When you meet your expectations you tend to get excited and proud, but that fleeting joy only lasts for a few seconds before you create yourself another higher, more difficult goal to strive toward.  The cycle never ends since the ultimate goal keeps getting further and further away.  Suddenly getting an 85% on an exam isn’t good enough, and a 93% isn’t even close to 100%.  And perhaps getting 100% means yay, now I can go find another challenge to crush.  Some times it feels stressful and discouraging because you never stop wondering when you can reach that goal, so that you can finally sit back and be the happiest person in the world.  Unfortunately, the road to happiness seems to always have walls rising up every time you take a step toward it.  These walls are the ones YOU yourself put up, to make you feel that happiness needs to be earned through hard-work.

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In addition to the stresses you already faced internally, you have to meet the expectations of everyone around you.  You must be smarter than Tim, or prettier than Jane, or funnier than Missy.  When you meet someone better than you, you feel like you no longer have worth.  You suddenly make up horrible stories about that seemingly, perfect person to make them seem more…human, or imperfect?

Why do we strive for perfection but when we see perfection, we become so resentful toward it?

For those people that you (in your mind) have defeated, they are worthless, their opinions don’t matter, and the things they do aren’t as …perfect as you.  Your team’s project doesn’t work?  No problem, you rewrite project paper since you definitely can’t have everyone else preventing you from getting that 100%.

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At the end of day, it’s not the papers that you rewrite, or the exam grades that earn you the recognition or the happiness you desperately wish to achieve.  It is definitely NOT it at all.  It’s knowing when to let your team mates contribute their parts in the project and accept that this is a team effort and accept that it is ok to TRUST them.  It is knowing when tell yourself, good job, you have done 80%, now let’s move on to another goal.

More importantly, it’s the self awareness of when to tell yourself that it is ok to be “good enough.”  To say, I accept being the IMperfect me and I love myself for it.  Our idea of happiness comes once we meet our goals is distorted.  Really, we can achieve happiness whenever we let ourselves be happy.  When you let go and accept that your hard work is good enough, you release the burden that you carry on your shoulders.   Suddenly, things become more optimistic, and you don’t feel like you owe yourself or the world anything.  When you accept that certain things are out of your control, and that the efforts you put in are worth the trouble (and not burning yourself out), then yeah, I guarantee that you will be a much ,much, happier person.

Here’s my top 5 tips to be a perfectly, happy IMperfectionist.

1. Do 80% of the first goal and finish the remaining 20% when you finish the other goals. (You’d accomplish more and not burn out)

2. Always reflect and acknowledge the hard work you have done and reward yourself for your efforts. (This will motivate you and also give you some time to relax and thus, will make you happier.)

3. In a team, have some confidence and trust in your team mates. (You’d be surprise how your team can take you far together, if you let them.)

4. Don’t just focus on the things that you are great at, try out new things that you haven’t done before.  (This will broaden your experiences and lower your expectations of yourself – just a little bit.)

5. Forgive yourself when you don’t meet a goal.  (Self-forgiveness is very hard at first, but it gets easier later.  I find that I feel less burdened by the guilt that I can’t meet a goal.  When I forgive myself, I give myself another chance to try again.)

–This post is not perfect but I did try my best.  🙂

And that, I leave you with the quote below.  Have a wonderful, perfect day!  😛

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