How to Not Suck at Life #10

Want to not suck at life? Don’t go it alone. It seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, many people go through life with a “lone wolf” mentality, struggling to be self-sufficient in everything and thinking it means failure if they have to rely on others for anything at all. They might even get through life without ever having any meaningful relationships in their life. Sure, they might have have a lot of “friends” but no one that they can truly rely on when life gets tough. If you don’t want to suck at life, you’ll need to find a good pack of friends, and get rid of the lone-wolf mentality.

One of the easiest ways to build your relationships is to help others. In life, you will be asked to help friends out with stuff, and usually it’s something that kind of sucks. How many times have you been asked by a friend to help them, move, paint, do yard work, roof, etc.? It can be all too easy to have an excuse as to why you can’t help, but the truth is you probably just don’t want to. Iv’e heard ’em all, “I have family in town” (my 3rd cousin is up and I don’t like him but would rather hang out with him than help you move), “I have errands to do” (yeah, the store is only open 24 hours, and it’ll take me pretty much all day to get there, get my stuff, and get home), or, my personal favorite, “I have plans” (I can’t think of a reason why I can’t help, but I just don’t want to). Now, this does not mean that you should always say yes and never take time for yourself. Sometimes you have to say no in order to recharge yourself, or you might have a legitimate excuses for why you can’t help. Sometimes, you are just wearing yourself too thin and need a break, and that is OK. All I’m trying to say is that I usually enjoy my life a lot more when I am able to help out some friends, more than when I choose to stay home alone. If you don’t want to suck at life, be a friend that others can count on.

Why should you help others? Because your relationships will grow in amazing ways when you do something out of the ordinary, like roofing, for a friend. There is a special kind of bond that develops when you are standing on a thin piece of wood, 40 feet off the ground, inches from death, in the snow, all while trying to carry a nail gun and shingles. Sure, that day I would have rather stayed home, been warm and dry, tried a few new beers and “enjoyed” the weekend. But honestly, helping my friends with random tough, or annoying, jobs made some of the best memories I have and they are made even better by the fact that I know I was able to help a friend in need.

Another great way develop your relationships, and this one is much harder, is to ask for help. Sometimes you will be the one that needs help. And you know what? If you don’t want to suck at life, you must learn to ask for help when you need it, and there IS a difference between asking for help when you need it and being totally dependent on others.  We all need help sometimes. I think of a body builder going for a PR on the bench press. You better believe he has a spotter there in case he can’t get the weight back up. Does that make him weak? If he is benching 405, I’d say no. He realizes that he might need some help in order to succeed, and that is ok. Another example, and a bit more serious one, would be if someone has substance abuse issues. That’s a major issue today, and for some reason, people that need help are still not asking for it. There are many reasons for that, I’m sure, but one of the reasons has to do with the totally ridiculous stigma about asking for help and how that means you are a failure. It doesn’t. Don’t believe the lie that asking for help is a bad thing!

Why should you start the difficult task of learning to ask for help? For one thing, it sure can be rewarding! Not just rewarding, though, but restful, peaceful, humbling, and it let’s you know who your friends are. When you are honest with yourself, and your friends, about what you need, you’ll be amazed at what happens. You’ll realize how much people actually care for you, you’ll even get to see that your real friends will empathize with you and your relationships will grow.  I strongly believe that we are designed for relationships, and part of nurturing relationships is knowing when to be a bit vulnerable. It isn’t easy, especially at first, but learning when and how to ask for help is an important skill to develop.

So, in summation; Don’t suck at life. Don’t be a lone wolf. Learn your limits and be available for your friends. DFQ!