“A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life.” This wise old quote is attributed to an unknown Chinese philosopher, but it rings true for us all. How many times have you thought about asking – for advice, for support, for love, or for anything at all that you need – then failed to do so out of fear? Most of us can think of at least a few instances in which we have failed to ask! Here are some tips for taking the terror out of asking for what you need – and becoming wiser and better off in the process.
The answer to this question is a simple one. If you never ask, the answer will always be the one you don’t want to hear – “No!” If you’re afraid to ask questions, or ask for permission, or ask for what you need, you are not going to get what you desire – at least not the easy way.
What Harm is There in Asking?
There is no harm in asking anyone for anything. Consider a married couple – if one spouse hadn’t asked the other for his or her hand in marriage, the wedding would have never taken place, and the life the two share now would never have come to fruition. The person who failed to ask would be without love in his life, while the person who was never asked might spend her life wondering what was wrong with her – “Why didn’t he ask me to marry him? I would have said yes!” This bit of wisdom can be applied to any situation. There is no harm in asking for what you desire. The answer might be “No,” but unless you ask, you have no chance of getting the “Yes” that you desire.
How to Ask
One reason many people are fearful of asking others for what they want is that they simply don’t know how to ask properly. It’s surprising that this important life skill is often one that’s left out of the learning equation – certainly, we learn that we should say “please,” but how else can we improve our chances of asking a question and getting a successful answer? Here are some tips to help you ask questions and get the results you want:
- Choose the Right Time – You certainly do not want to spend such a long amount of time waiting for just the right time to ask to arrive, but at the same time, you don’t want to ask someone a question at the wrong time. If at all possible, select a time when the person you need to speak with is in a good mood, or at least not in a bad mood. If you’re afraid you might lose your chance to ask a question, don’t spend time waiting – instead, get your question out in the open. Again, the worst that can happen is that you’ll be told “No.”
- Frame Your Question Carefully – Before asking any question, particularly one that’s important to you, ensure you frame it carefully. Thinking before speaking will be of great assistance here, as will making an asking statement that shows you are not just asking a random question. Make your words count.
- Say Thank You – No matter what the answer to your question, thank the other person for considering it. In the event the person you’re asking a favor of needs to think about what you’ve asked, he or she will be much more likely to help you get what you need if you display a grateful spirit!
Armed with this information, you now know that in order to receive, you must ask – better yet, you have the opportunity to develop skills that will make you into a better “asker!” If you ever feel doubtful again, remind yourself of the wise old quote: “A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life.” Then, ask!