Our good friend Dawn Pine noticed that I’m rather busy these days and in dire need of some R&R, and very kindly wrote in with a guest post for The Agoge series. This post is all about getting your butt into gear so that you can go and get what you want in life. As always, many thanks to The Male Brain for his continued excellent contributions to this site.
Introduction and a Short Story
It was almost 2 decades ago. I was a MBA student in his final semester. It wasn’t a hard program, but it still contributed to my evolution as a technical professional. In order to celebrate getting the degree (we were all in the stage of finalising it, and there was no uncertainty) the student body decided on an event. The university gave us some money, each student gave a little as well, and we made an evening of it with a lecture and dinner.
The lecturer was an odd fellow. He was a minor celebrity, who knew how to charm an audience. He gave his lecture, spending some of the time telling us his life story (it was interesting). He also talked about a book he had written. Near the end, he suddenly asked us: “Would you like to get a free copy? I have one here”.
(Almost) all of us said yes. He continued: “How much do you want it?”. “We would love to have it”, some of us answered. He wasn’t impressed. “Show me” he told us. Two or three guys stood up and went near him. It was an open room, with chairs laid in a half circle, so he was accessible.
“Please give us a copy” said one of them. “Oh, you do want it. How much do you want it?” He teased us. I was sitting front and center, looking up at him, and then it hit me. I reached up my arm, grabbed the book that was in his hand and said: “May I? Thank you” and took it. He was pleased.
“The moral of the story” he told us, “Is that if you want something – GO GET IT!“.
Patterns of “Secretly Asking”
The story is both true and enlightening. Basically if you want something you should “grab it” and (probably) ask for it. People, for some odd reason that I will shortly examine, don’t do that.
For those of you who date, or have GFs or wives, you probably know it. That girl keeps on dancing near the subject, asking questions and showing dissatisfaction. Finally, after much pressure from your side, she asks for something. Sometimes it is so small you almost can’t figure out why she didn’t just ask for it.
For those who manage people, it’s those employee that starts talking about everything. Eventually he finally gets around to asking for what he wanted. Sometimes it takes him several occasions.
For those with kids (such as me), you see as they grow up when they start to talk in a cute voice, less mature and almost childish. You know they want something and they are waiting for you to ask them “What is it? What do you want?” (Happens to me almost twice a week).
Or that guy in a meeting (virtual or physical) who talks a lot about how “we should do XYZ”. He goes on to elaborate why it is so important. The guy would not shut up or briefly explain what most people in the room already know – he wants something but is afraid to ask.
I call it “indirect asking” or “secretly asking”. It usually happens when you think the other side has the power. In most cases it may be true, but that does not mean you have no leverage. It usually pisses people off, unless they have grandeur complex or need their asses kissed regularly.
The Fear of “No”
Here is a “new concept” – why not ask for what you want outright?
Yes, I know – you might not get it. Well, here is a news flash – you don’t have it now. If it will be given to you, there is no need to ask for it, right? And if you don’t have it – then why are you avoiding it?
The answer is simple (in my book) – fear of potential loss. If you don’t ask, the illusion that you’ll get it is not shattered. This is why Beta males hang in orbit – if you ask the girl out and she says no, your hope is crushed. But if you are indirect that you can maintain your illusion (and ego) that you might get it.
What will happen if you get a “No”? Guess what – you are exactly at the same spot, since you did not have it in the first place. Nothing changed, except your feelings. Oh, did I not mention that those feelings will change (usually sooner rather than later)?
Instead, I try to ask for it. A new project, a new date/girl, something I want, people to behave how I prefer they behave – I try to ask for it. There is no guarantee, but a lot of times I either get what I want or part of what I want.
You should be polite (according to circumstances), but assertive. It is after all what you want. You need to align interests with the other party, build trust and do those things that help you secure the transaction. Yet above all – you need to ask for it.
Quoting Roosh from his famous book, Bang:
“Even if you approach with absolutely zero game and without the ability to construct a complete sentence, there’s going to be at least one girl who will bang you because you happened to catch her at the right moment“
“Not doing anything may prevent you from failure, but because you make no attempt, it prevents you from success as well“
Just go get it!
I can only agree with my friend’s assessments. The fear of rejection has held me back from many things in my life. Over the last few years, I have adopted the attitude that I stand to gain far more than I lose in almost all aspects of life, if I simply state outright what I want.
This inevitably has made me somewhat outspoken in public as well as private life. Despite the socially distanced (*eyerolls*) nature of my current pursuits, I have no doubt that my colleagues consider me to be something of a smartass and a nerd. That is because, if someone asks for an opinion, I provide one. I’m not rude about it, and I don’t interrupt people (as a general rule), but if someone asks for an answer, I’ll provide one. And if I feel like I want something from someone, I ask outright.
Again, I try to be polite about it, but I don’t disguise the fact that I want something.
And when you behave with the mindset that you want something and will go get it, no matter what… you will find that things start happening in a big hurry.