I’m looking to summarize an idea into as few words as possible — to make it as concise as possible. The idea is to ask others for help (putting ego aside), value others’ input, listen to others, learn from others.

What I have so far is “Ask for help and learn from others”, but I’m not that satisfied with it. I’m trying to make a list of rules, such as “be virtuous” or “seek adventure” or “be kind”, and this particular phrase doesn’t really fit in well. Any other suggestions?

And please ask me to clarify if necessary. I’ve been running this through my head for a while, so it might not be clear as I think it is.

2 Answers 2


I think Kathryn's examples are good. I can't think of a better, more succinct phrase than "from others" to convey that part of the meaning. If an approach combining the help and informational aspects is possible, it seems you have some choices for the ideas of the request and what is requested:

[ Ask for | request | seek | solicit ] 
[ advice | guidance | insight | knowledge | wisdom ]
from others.

With respect to knowledge, the big difference from information, of course, is that knowledge is learned information, or information made useful. I would personally shy away from such terms as "teaching" and "instruction" unless that is the specific sort of help that is intended to be sought.

I think an optimal choice depends on the reason for the structure of the proposed rule, "Ask for help & learn from others." Is it really that the reader should ask for help from others, as well as learning from others, and that these are just bundled together as actions taken with regard to others in service to conciseness? For example, if one is building a roof, should one ask others to help one hammer in the shingles even if one already knows how, but still do one's best to learn from them in that and any other contexts that might arise? Or is the help and the learning supposed to occur together, i.e. one should ask for help in the form of knowledge or guidance when one doesn't know what to do?

If the latter, I think that something like "Seek knowledge from others" or "Seek guidance from others", depending on the specific context, might be most appropriate. But if you're just bundling together two things one should do with others, your original attempt isn't actually too bad, but I might try different variations on for size, e.g. "Ask others for help and guidance", "Learn and seek help from others", etc.

The slight clunkiness of the wording at present is caused, I suspect, by the desire for brevity. It would seem more correct to convert "learn" to a gerund, but it sounds silly to "ask for learning from others". It would also seem a little more clear structurally to go with something like "Ask for help from, and learn from, others" despite the repetition, but of course that's just ugly; nor do I much like "Ask for help, and learn, from others", though it does resolve the issue of "Ask for help and learn" being scanned initially and perceived as asking for two things, one of which is a verb. Once you've decided exactly what you're trying to convey and chosen your terms, I'm sure it will be easy to juggle things up a bit and find an arrangement that's both short and sweet-- perhaps even more so than this entry.

  • You're very kind, and of course you're welcome.
    – Iucounu
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 7:27

"Seek guidance from others"?

Or "Seek wisdom from others"?

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