I don’t know if it’s because I’m a guy, but sometimes it can be difficult to stop and ask for help.

Earlier today I went to the hardware store to try to find a specific fitting I needed. I told myself it would only take a second, but when I got to the right aisle I didn’t immediately see what I was looking for. At that moment I had a choice: I could go find someone and ask them for help, or I could keep looking. And for a few minutes, I chose the latter. I told myself that I’d find it any second, and that it would end up taking longer to go find someone. But after searching in vain some more, I eventually went and asked someone if they could point me in the right direction. And sure enough, they knew exactly where I needed to look. As they showed me the part I was looking for, I also realized that I wouldn’t have found it on my own.

In hindsight, I should have asked for help earlier—much earlier. But at the time, I didn’t realize that it was going to be necessary. Getting outside help was more of a last resort, not a first consideration. But waiting to ask didn’t help in the long run. It just made things last a little longer than they should have.

I’m wondering how often the same thing happens in life. We resist asking for help, or getting some direction, because we think we can handle the situation on our own. But after a while we realize we should have sought advice earlier in the process. Thankfully, today’s decision only cost me a few minutes in the hardware store. But it’s a lesson I needed to be reminded of.