Whenever you take on big projects, its very easy to realise that you are not Superman. That you can't do everything on your own and that you aren't the person with the skill set that outweighs and outranks any normal persons abilities. Everyone has their specialties and everyone has their particular talents to be utilised.
But when you are the one sitting and trying to fathom how on earth you are going to meet a particular deadline or a particular criteria, or perhaps just figure out how exactly you get the triangle thingy to sit atop the square thingy and make a 2 column graph look the right way on a computer system, sometimes you just need a helping hand from someone. So when someone actually puts their hand up and says, 'no I can do this' - at times you need to listen to that.
Taking assistance is akin to accepting a compliment. There is a mode of thought that puts acceptance into 3 main categories: ACCEPT, DEFLECT and REJECT. Where outright acceptance is woefully arrogant or conceited and rejection is just plain rude, many go for the subtle and mildly adequate choice of deflection. Deflecting assistance in the name of appearing socially palatable or perhaps salvaging some long lost pride is not the true way to get a job done. I say this sacrifice is not worth the supposed 'pride' of achieving a job done on one's own when it could all result in hours of tears, frustration and a few bottles of good red to recover from the stress of trying to figure out an excel spreadsheet formula.
For some reason we are conditioned to believe that accepting something proffered with exuberance is somewhat 'conceited' or 'arrogant'. It may appear humiliating to accept that someone can and probably does have the skills that you lack and that no matter how persistently you commit to the task at hand, you simply won't get any closer to achieving it with your basic understanding of the engineering of a vacuum cleaner replacement part.
I say bollocks to that. When faced with a challenge there is a personality type that struggles onward, believing that persistence will somehow magically engineer the necessary tools and innate knowledge necessary to complete a very technically demanding task. There comes a point where you have to accept defeat in order to win the battle.
Drawing on people's skills and generosity is a little like borrowing a hammer. You can get too greedy with offers. You never want to appear the person who is always asking for something. Well - most of us. I often find myself at a point where I could go - "I'll just ask... wait... hang on - if I really think about this can I answer this myself?" Or do I have the skills necessary to actually be able to do this? Google and YouTube has become remarkably adept at arming us with knowledge and information. It is true. We have ready access to more information now than any of our ancestors had. It is literally at our fingertips. However we must manage to not be overconfident in our own abilities. Recognising when you are completely out of your depth before there is a screaming partner in front of you who is traumatised by the 3 hours they have been waiting for dinner whilst you fix the oven is usually a good measure of being inadequately educated by Google.
There is also the point of becoming too proud of that which you have achieved to the point of ignoring someone else's recommendations or constructive criticism of a project. I am certainly guilty of this one (did someone say Leo?). But there does come a point when you have to accept that even though you have spent hours on something and you feel it is the Mona Lisa of presentations, there are others who can take one look at the finished product and pull it apart in a manner of minutes and increase its effectiveness exponentially. These people are actually your best friends and allies! They will be able to direct you instantly onto the path that actually will end up saving you time, money and even generating a stronger, more cohesive and better product.
Being grateful for these offerings of assistance and even coming to rely on them when the offer is made, is sometimes the best thing you can do to balance your own ego and pride. I challenge the notion that to be a man you have to complete tasks yourself without referring to the instructions stoically. (aka IKEA furniture assembly). If your big sister can do it in half the time and get it done quicker, then I say accept the fact, congratulate her on it and go and make a chocolate brownie cake whilst she sifts through the allen keys.
So remembering these people when you do stand at the end of a project, accepting the glory and praise of a job well done, that there were people along the way who may have only made one small comment, one small contribution to the result. They may have just handed your the spanner! But they helped. They contributed to the situation that brought about the end result. They made that contribution to the Karma Kitty Jar. One day you will get the chance to make a payback and when that day comes, everyone should celebrate it with you.