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The Art of Asking
or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
- Read in 15 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 9 key ideas
The Art of Asking (2014) is Amanda Palmer’s personal account of how she developed her philosophy of asking, sharing and connecting. Through these blinks you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of how to accept help, reciprocate the generosity of others and build a tight-knit, family-like fanbase to support you in whatever you do.
Key idea 1 of 9
By accepting someone’s help, you might be helping them.
Are you ever ashamed to ask for the financial support of your friends, family or associates? It’s common to feel uncomfortable asking for the aid of those around you, but being able to accept help when it’s offered is actually productive for both you and the person lending a hand.
Take the author’s relationship with her friend, former neighbor and mentor, Anthony. He helped the author by giving her moral support and advice throughout her teenage years and regularly when she was on the road.
But their relationship wasn't as one-sided as it might seem: Anthony, who suffered through an abusive childhood, doesn’t like speaking about himself or his problems. In fact, he finds joy in talking others through their issues. In this way, offering his assistance to the author was beneficial to both of them.
Try it out. When you, as an artist, start accepting the help of others, you’ll be amazed at how people support artists they admire.
Before the author became a professional musician, she worked as a living statue street performer, standing still for hours on end. Nicknamed “The Bride,” she would wear a white wedding dress, white face paint and a black wig while handing out flowers in exchange for money. Her performance quickly made her a local Boston celebrity and attracted many supporters.
Among her supporters were those who were either personally touched by her work, or simply enjoyed participating in an art project that captivated the public. For instance, the owner of the ice cream shop where the author worked part-time let her keep her costume in the store’s basement, which also served as a changing room.
In addition to the support of her boss, the author was aided by a flower shop employee who gave her a good deal on the flowers for her show, the owner of a burrito shop who offered her food and the owner of a coffee shop that provided a calm space for her to take her breaks.