Asking for Help - To Change Things Up

When you’re up to something big like reframing the way we experience politics and engage with one another in the public sphere, it can be really tempting to take similar approaches as in the past but with greater conscience and with far greater heart.

And yet the reason that that doesn’t work is that our current system is gridlocked and like any other kind of system that is stuck, three reinforcing features are in play:

  1. Everyone is trying harder

  2. People are looking for answers, not reframing questions

  3. Either/or thinking is in play

Check out The Failure of Nerve for more on this.

I’ll be returning to these themes, but in the meantime I want to hone in on how asking for help can help to loosen up a gridlocked system (and a gridlocked system can be the way legislation gets passed, the way a party works, your office, your family, your significant relationship, yourself).

When you ask for help, you are introducing an element of spontaneity.

Exposing oneself to chance is often the only way to provide the kind of mind-jarring experience of novelty that can make us realize that what we thought was reality was only a mirror of our minds. - Edwin H. Friedman, The Failure of Nerve

The simple influx of help changes the gridlocked system:

  1. Where a person might have been on the “trying harder treadmill” - an injection of help can open up possibilities that weren’t there before.

  2. Where there was a pursuit of getting the right answer, an outsider may ask new questions that shake up thinking.

  3. Where the choices once seemed like they were either one thing or the other - either you get what you want or I get what I want - a helper might propose an entirely different possibility.

Heather Jensen