Ask And You May Get. Ask Not And You Will Never Get.
More often than not, we hesitate to ask what we want. We hesitate to ask for information, ask for clarity, ask for help. This hesitation stems from our fear of rejection, of being afraid to hear a ‘No’, (Ouch! That hurts!!) of being afraid of being shunned and shamed. Whether we are in public, amid our peers or friends and family, or even alone, we shy away from asking. And thus shy away from getting what we want.
When I was in college doing my MBA, whenever our professors asked a question and threw it open to the class, I often knew the answer but feared answering. Not because the answer was wrong, but because I probably feared that my classmates would laugh at me – to date I don’t know why I feared they would jeer, because I was sure my answers were right. But that was it. The moment I thought I should raise my hand and answer the question, I would become tongue-tied and go mum. My heart would start beating furiously in anticipation of fear, I would start sweating and my palms would go cold and I would do the easiest thing there was – I would clam up.
Are you afraid to ask? To ask for directions to a place, to ask if you can use the washroom, to ask help from neighbours, to ask the shopkeeper for change, to ask for the front row seat even in an open house kind of event, to ask for more trials in your boutique, to ask for a different shade of lipstick, to ask for a photograph with our favourite icon, to ask so many things?! Are you afraid to ask for things that may seem small but may get a big, happy smile on your face?
In his book ‘How to get from where you are to where you want to be’ – The 25 principles of success’, Jack Canfield says,” you are preventing success and happiness from coming to you, if you do not risk asking”. He narrates an incident that happened during his graduate years at the University of Chicago. He was participating in a self-development group with 20 other people. During one of the exercises, one of the men asked one of the women if she found him attractive. Canfield says, “I was shocked by the boldness of the question and embarrassed for the asker- fearing what he might get as a response. As it turned out, she said, she did.” After this exercise, several of the women said they were surprised how men were scared to ask women for a date.
I graphically remember this one incident when I had gone for an interview in a huge company for the post of an Assistant Marketing Manager. It was the final interview with the Managing Director. But as he began talking something came over me and I asked him if they had an opening in their Corporate Communications Department! He was taken aback (no one so at a mere 23 years of age had probably asked him such a question earlier) and questioned me about why I did not want the earlier role I was there for! I answered truthfully and said writing and communication was my passion. I got the job!! To date when I think about it, I wonder whether I had risked it all and had been a fool to ask the MD about a new role at the last moment, but then I see the logic and magic in the situation and know that if I hadn’t asked I would not have got something I so badly wanted! That question I had dared to ask had changed the course of my profession and brought with it happiness and eventually success.
After college, as I entered the creative field, I was afraid to voice my ideas; I always feared that my boss would turn them down, throw my scribbled ideas back at me and yell at me telling me how lousy my ideas were. I feared this because the ad industry’s big bosses are known to behave in the manner I have quoted above. But as I progressed in my career and was blessed with the maturity growing up bestows on you, I eventually mustered up the courage to voice my ideas despite my beating heart and fluttering stomach. But to my surprise my boss liked my ideas. See, it was so easy. I simply had to ‘ask’ my boss what he thought of my ideas!
I have asked for a photograph with my business icon in a crowded auditorium and got it, I have asked for an autograph from my favourite cricketer even as he was practically getting mobbed and have got it, I have got a hug from my favourite film star and got it. Right from these small things that gave me truckloads of happiness to the big things I have asked for, I have almost always got it.
Luck? Good fortune? Nah! It’s more about risk-taking, guts and courage. I believe that fortune favours the brave. So be brave and ask and you shall receive! In the worst case, you may get a “NO!” But think, what if you get a “YES?!!”