The cooperation conundrum:
Among the most insane habits we humans
practice is to prevent the very thing we want
and disallow the very thing that works.

Dr. J. Mitchell Perry


As a species, we are a very curious bunch of characters. So often, rather than practice common sense, we prefer to routinely practice insanity… and, what is insanity? Insanity is: continuing the same counter-productive habit, with the same bad outcome, with the illusion that if we keep doing that habit, we will receive a different outcome.

Among the two most insane habits people practice in the United States are:

1.  We spend more than we have.
2.  We eat more than we need.
(More than 2/3 of us are financially and
physically obese.)
Then we wonder why we are so broke and so

Here is another insane habit we so often practice around the world… failing to ASK FOR HELP.

This is one of the most powerful and effective habits that humans generally avoid.

The paradox is that we often prevent the very thing that works – ASKING FOR HELP.

To get started, here are some remarkably universal truths:
Universal Truth #1:  When offered help, most people will likely answer “No.”

Imagine yourself offering someone help:
You offer help to your teenager in doing homework
You offer help to your spouse to solve a computer issue
You offer help to a co-worker who appears to need it
You offer help to a family member to solve a personal problem
What happens?  Almost always their response is a resounding “NO.”

At this point, you are often quite perplexed.  You think:
My intentions are good
I can really help here
I can solve it right away
My advice is quite good
This seems insane!  What’s going on?
Universal Truth #2:  When asked for help, people will generally answer “Yes.”

Think about it.
If I ask you for help, are you likely to say yes?  Answer – YES.  Why?  Because if I ask you for help it helps you feel important and the single biggest need that people have to be met (beyond survival) is to feel important.
If I ask you for help, you say yes; and you give me the help, then do I have more resources at this point or fewer resources?  Answer – MORE.
If I ask you for help, you say yes; you give me the help; I now have more resources; then am I less powerful or more powerful?  Answer – MORE POWERFUL.
Therefore, if I ask you for help:
You will very likely say yes;
You give me the help;
I now have more resources;
I now become more powerful;
Then that is a GOOD thing, yes?
That is common sense, yes?
What is it that would make so many people refuse to ask for help and reject the above logical common sense?  What is the deal with so many people having so much difficulty asking for help?

Answer:  Because of the ASSOCIATION that most of us have in our minds with the idea of asking for help.  Remember that whenever you associate with something you will likely be bound by the association regardless of how true or ridiculous that association is.

And, what is the most common ASSOCIATION that people connect with asking for help?

That ASKING FOR HELP means that you will be considered WEAK!  And, because it is unthinkable to be weak, you must avoid asking for help.


So, is that association actually true?  Think about it.

Here are some very important questions I recommend you ask yourself:
Have you ever done a research survey to determine that if you ask others for help, they will actually think you are weak?
Are you aware of research in the literature that has conclusively determined that when you have an impulse to ask others for help, you must override and stop the impulse because there is statistically significant data that proves people will think you are weak?
In my professional history, the answers to both questions are a resounding NO!

So on what do you want to rely?

1.  The insane life-long association of asking for
help means you are weak?
2.  Asking for help is very effective, and reeks of
Common Sense!

I imagine that when you think about it, the Common Sense solution #2 is the way to go.

So, how do you get started with making a habit of ASKING FOR HELP?

When you ask for help, deliberately switch the
association in your mind from WEAKNESS to

Decide that now it is common sense to ask for help because you now believe the fact that asking for help is a good thing.  Remember, if you ask others for help:
They will very likely say yes;
They will give you the help;
You now have more resources;
You now become more powerful.
INTO THE HABIT.  What you rehearse, you will

Use any of the following for practice:
“Help me understand.”
“I wonder if you can help me?”
“I need your advice.”
“What are your thoughts?”
With enough practice you will find out it gets easier.  Moreover, you will notice that you can ask anyone for help… including your children, clients, co-workers, family, neighbors, and service providers.  Try on any of the above openers, and you will find people quite flexible and helpful.

Asking for help works wonders.
People will say “yes”;
People will help;
Your relationships become more flexible;
You solve issues together;
Everyone contributes;
You replace pushback and rigidity (You or Me)    with teaming and responsiveness (You and Me).
So, I need your help here… WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?


Real sports comments for your entertainment:

1. Former Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model: “I wan’ all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan’ all the kids to copulate me.”

2. New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season: “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.”

3. And, upon hearing Joe Jacobiof the ‘Skin’s say: “I’d run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl,”… Matt Millen of the Raiders said: “To win, I’d run over Joe’s Mom, too.”

4. Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins: “He treat us like mens. He let us wear earrings.”

5. Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann: “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

6.  Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh: “I’m going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes..” (Now that is beautiful.)

7. Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: “You guys line up alphabetically by height.” And, “You guys pair up in groups of three, and then line up in a circle.”

8.  Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson going to prison: “Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton.”

9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: “That’s so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes.”

10. Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regimen of heavyweight Andrew  Golota: “He’s a guy who gets up at six o’clock in the morning, regardless of what time it is.”

11. Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: “My sister’s expecting a baby, and I don’t know if I’m going to be an uncle or an aunt. (I  wonder if his IQ ever hit room temperature in January.)

12. Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former  player: “I asked him, ‘Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ‘Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care.”

13. Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas  A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F’s and one D: “Son, looks to me like you’re spending too much time on one subject.”

14. In the words of NC State great Charles Shackelford: “I can go to my left or right, I am amphibious.”

At your service,

Dr. J. Mitchell Perry
JM Perry Learning

P.S.  Let me know how you are doing!

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