If You Don’t Ask, The Answer Is Always No

Last Friday’s New York Times had an interview with a young entrepreneur named Angus Davis. When asked for career advice for students, he said, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

How many times in your personal or professional life have you been afraid to ask for something because of your fear that the answer would be no? In some cases, you may have simply presumed that the answer would be no.

Rejection can be hard to handle whether it comes from asking your mom for a cookie when you’re small or asking a bank for a loan when you’re older. This explains why some people are not cut out for sales positions.

As Davis continues his advice he says, “What’s the harm in asking? What’s the worst that’s going to happen?” If you ask for a hotel or airline upgrade and are told no, have you lost anything? If you ask a car dealer if he’ll take your lowball offer and he says no, are you damaged in any way? If you ask for a raise and/or a promotion at work and are turned down, is it a bad thing?

In many cases, the upside possibilities of a positive reply are so great that we have to ask the question. (For instance, “will you marry me?” That’s a big one.)

Asking can often establish a dialogue that will help you obtain what you want in time. Even if the answer you get today is no, the answer next week/month/year may be yes.

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