Whenever you ask someone for a favor, you pawn a bit of your freedom.
When to ask for favors, and when not to ask for favors
It is good to help others for help — especially when they are people who love you, and people you care about.
However also realize that whenever you ask for a favor, you are indebted to the other person. Sometimes this can be a good debt— your friend pays for your meal, and you are excited to take them out for dinner next time. A lot of mutual debt is what holds society together.
Yet there are also debts that strangle us. That imprison us.
Think about credit card debt. We are essentially asking a bank for a ‘favor’ to lend us some money for a period of time. And if we cannot pay it back, we get charged massive interest rates. And often these debts keep ballooning. This might keep us working at a job we hate, just to pay off the debt.
Avoid debt, and you will never become a prisoner.
What should we really be asking for?
Why is it that we always ask favors from fortune? Shouldn’t we ask favors from ourself?
Changing your mindset
For example, many of us play the lottery, hoping that we will win millions, and never have to work again.
Instead, shouldn’t we figure out how to do work, which doesn’t feel like work? Figuring out how we can make a living (not a killing) and doing what we love? What we are passionate and good at?
Ignore this advice
If you imagined your life were 100% dependent upon yourself, would that uplift or depress you?
If you asked nobody else for favors— and depended entirely upon yourself, to do what you wanted, to achieve what you wanted, and to find satisfaction in your life — wouldn’t you feel much happier, empowered, and encouraged?
How to depend more on yourself
- When starting off a business, see if you can do it without borrowing money, or asking others for favors to build it. See how much of it you can do by yourself.
- Before you ask a friend for a favor— think to yourself, “Do I really need help from them? Am I bothering them? Can I figure out how to do this in an easier way, which doesn’t require help?”
- If you never got a raise or promotion at your job— how could you live a happy and fulfilling life? How can you make the best of the money you already earn now, instead of thinking that earning more money will buy you more happiness?
Know that everything depends on you, your mental-state, and your effort.
Of course still ask for favors from friends and loved ones when you really need their help. People who care about you, and people you care about, are more than happy to help you.
But never ask for favors from fortune, luck, or anything you don’t have control over. Otherwise you will always be a slave to chance, and not your own actions.
Learn more: Stoic Philosophy >