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How to ask for help

Consider the following: You're struggling with a problem that you just can't figure out, so you ask a friend for help.

You then proceed to defend every assumption, every decision and every design choice you've made. Both you and your friend get frustrated, so you move on to something more solvable, like world peace or climate change.

I see this a lot. I do it myself too. And it never works.

It doesn't work because the starting question is wrong.

Instead of 'help me solve my problem', 'what should I do' or even 'what would you do' a much better question is 'what do you see that I do not see?'

You can disagree and argue with the first questions. But how do you argue with 'what do you see'?

Armed with this feedback, you can either decide to get curious (what else do you see? Tell me more!), decide to change, or say Thank You and move on to something easier, like the perils of Facebook or professional sports.

I vote to stay curious, but hey, it's your decision.