The Simple (Sometimes Easy) Way of Getting What You Want

Photo Credit: aundre larrow // CC0 1.0
Not too long ago, a former supervisor of mine (Hi Brock!) shared with me one of the most powerful pieces of advice he'd ever been given. His adviser in college told him, "If you want a cookie, you have to ask for the cookie."

The concept behind that is simple: if you want something, you are more likely to get it if you ask.

Sometimes you'll get it; sometimes you won't, but you'll never know until you ask.

Not asking keeps your wants, dreams, and desires hidden inside. Who knows, the person you've been wanting to ask something might have a "yes" already waiting for you (and wondering why you haven't asked yet).

At work, asking helps clarify to your colleagues what your expectations are. If you want a promotion, ask your boss if there are any positions open. That way you know if there are any and your boss knows that you're looking to grow. Your boss isn't a mind reader. If you want a raise, make it clearly communicated by asking for one. If you want to have some days off for yourself, by all means, ask. It may seem intimidating at times, but how else is your boss going to know that you want/need time off.

In relationships, asking creates communication and clarity between partners. If you want to go on a date, resolve an issue, or just talk, it helps to ask. At the very least, asking gets the ball rolling.

If you're not in a relationship, asking is a powerful practice to help you get in one (if that's what you want; there's nothing wrong with being single). If there's someone you're interested, ask her/him to go on a date/hang out/get coffee/grab lunch/get dinner/watch a movie/etc. Any of those is enough to give you a good start.

I know that asking takes courage. You risk being told, "No," which many people associate with disappointment and failure. Many times asking requires you to go through the nervousness and fear.

I can tell you from my personal experiences that it is definitely challenging to muster up the courage to ask. There are times when it is hard and plenty of times when it seems much harder. There will be times you'll be told, "No," and it brings down your mood. How I get over it is to just keep on going. By practicing, I get better at keeping up my momentum whenever people tell me, "No," when I ask. Practicing is empowering.

Even if you think you have a long shot of getting a "Yes" from people, you might be surprised. The last time I went to go get sushi, I asked for a discount before I paid the bill and I got it. (I was surprised myself.) I just asked, not knowing whether or not I'd get it, but it worked. The same thing happened when I went to buy a ham last week. Asking takes a little courage, but it definitely helps develop character.

In everyday life, the act of asking opens limitless possibilities. Asking opens doors. It starts conversations. This simple act will help you if you practice it consistently.

Is there something lingering inside that you've been wanting to ask someone? Go for it!

After all, you will never know until you ask.

Roderick Conwi writes at about lifestyle development. To get helpful insights that enhance your day, join his free newsletter.

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