Solve Any Problem by Asking for Help

The key to solving your problems is not only asking for help, but asking more than one person 

Credit: Flickr / something.from.nancy

Flickr / something.from.nancy

Get help solving problems from a few of your friends

Solve problems easier using the Rule of Three to ask for help

Self-help gurus say being able to ask others for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Despite this well-meant advice, I cringe each time I have to rely on others to fix a knotty problem. Recently, for example, I had to decide about an ageing but beloved vintage car: sell it at a loss, store it at a friend’s, or try to interest a collector who would presumably want to restore it?

In the past, I would have tried only one approach – asking my friend to find a spot in her building’s garage. Then I would have stewed while waiting for a call that never came.

Now, I don’t have to brood. Using my Rule of Three to solve this problem, I’ve also e-mailed the car club and posted my car-for-sale ad on classified websites. One of these solutions is sure to come through.

Problem Solved: Three Easy Steps to Problem Solving

If you need a problem solved, simply ask three different people for help. Follow this process:

  1. Determine your need. What kind of help do you need to solve your problem?
  2. Decide who and how to ask. Do you need to ask three people the same thing, or three different things? Or do you need to try three different approaches (ask a friend for ideas, ask a family member to pitch in, or  request a quote from a company that can fix the problem?)
  3. Send your requests. Make your asks, ideally all at once.

How Does the Rule of Three Solve Your Problems?

Ask only one person for a favour, and everything rides on their response. Ask three, and you’ve always got two more irons in the fire.

The Rule of Three doesn’t always get immediate results, but it’s practically guaranteed to provide you with a lead. Like my advice on how to make decisions, it’s a little trick leading to big solutions. And if you’re trying to keep New Year’s resolutions, more tools can only help.
Try the Rule of Three. Once you get in the habit, it’ll become so ingrained that should you forget – ask a colleague to cover for you, for example, and receive a flat no – you won’t be dismayed, but annoyed with yourself for not asking two others. Next time, you’ll remember.