Do you ever feel like the world doesn’t want to give you what you want? Do you wish you knew how to get what you want in almost any situation?
I’m here to tell you that the reason why you don’t get what you want is that you hold the key mistaken belief that the universe doesn’t want to give you what you want.
Fortunately, you aren’t alone in this mistaken belief. In fact, it’s the plague of many who work in sales, donation solicitation, and who struggle with the art of persuasion. Here’s how to overcome this idea and start getting what you want!
When you’re trying to get what you want, do you set yourself up with a mindset for success or failure?
To illustrate this point, I want to share the jack story initially told by comedian Danny Thomas. This story is a perfect example of how we get in the way with our mindset.
A traveling salesman is driving around on a desolate back road one night when he hears a thump. He realizes he, unfortunately, has a blown a tire. He gets out, gets in the trunk, and checks for a jack—but there’s nothing there.
He sighs to himself and decides he’s going to need to go on foot to the service station he passed a few miles back. Frustrated and tired, he starts walking down the road. As he walks, along his feet hurt, he’s annoyed with himself, and he starts talking to himself about the situation.
“I can’t believe this has happened! How much is this guy going to charge me for a jack rental at the service station? A couple of bucks?”
But then he thinks about it, “Well, it’s pretty late, so he’s probably going to charge me a fee because it’s after-hours. So, what, now I’m looking at $10? $15? You know, he’s probably like my brother-in-law—out to squeeze an extra buck out of any situation. He’ll know I have nowhere else to go for the jack. He’ll probably try to swindle me because I’m at his mercy. I’ll bet he’s going to charge me $20!”
As he walks along, he’s more and more frustrated. “I can’t believe this guy’s going to rip me off. That’s the trouble with car problems—those repair guys will always push you for an extra buck. I bet the guys a total jerk. Out here in the middle of nowhere, he’ll probably do anything to milk another dollar off a stranger!”
Finally, he gets to the service station. He opens the door, and as the bell chimes, the owner behind the counter smiles and nods. “What can I do for you tonight, buddy?”
The salesman looks at him with disgust. “You have some nerve! Take your stinking jack and shove it!”
As you can see, there’s a lot of truth in this humorous parable. How many of us end up getting in our own way with negative self-talk and mistaken beliefs? We may tell ourselves a whole scenario in our heads before we ever reach the service station to ask for what we want. By the time we’ve worked up the situation, we know there’s NO WAY someone’s going to give us what we want. We set ourselves up for failure and get stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When we’ve worked with people during the Year of More and in our sales and career programs, we often give out assignments. This is referred to as the assignment way of living—each day, taking on a new task that stretches us beyond our comfort zone and gets us to push past these limiting and mistaken beliefs.
In one assignment, our students need to go out, ask for, and get things. Our students often experience a great deal of fear and discomfort during these asks, but they go through it anyway. They’re amazed to discover people WANT to give them stuff.
It’s always delightful to watch students’ fear transition to fun and excitement as they carry out this activity. We’ve had students get free coffee, desserts, services, even refrigerators, and cars! It’s surprising to people because they carry this limiting belief that the world is a cruel and withholding place. They believe the world wants to get more than it gives. As they’re out there getting tangible and intangible things, they’re always amazed as this belief shifts.
One of the essential skills we teach our students is how to develop a high-quality rapport with others. It’s not only the ask, but the way you ask that makes an impact.
Start by identifying what it is you want. Now, of course, most of us want a lot of things. Not every item we want is going to bring us happiness and fulfillment. In fact, most items we think we want aren’t REALLY what we actually need in our lives.
That said, for this experiment, think of whatever you’d like. If you want a cup of coffee, challenge yourself. Go up to someone and ask if they would get you a cup of coffee. Don’t build it up in your mind (remember the parable of the jack). Don’t tell yourself, “they’ll probably think I’m a weirdo for asking this,” or, “they probably don’t like me and don’t want to answer my request.”
When you get your cup of coffee (or quarter, or a hug, or assistance carrying a bag…), keep the momentum going. What else can you get? Ask your coworkers for a favor. Ask someone to take you to lunch. Ask your waitress if you can get a piece of pie or a discount on your meal. Ask, ask, ask!
More importantly, believe the world is going to hear your request and say yes!
I’d love to hear how this challenge goes, so please comment or send us an email and let us know what happened when you decided to ask for what you wanted!
For more ways to get what you need from life, visit the Wright Foundation. Many of our courses are available online at Wright Now. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and move toward a life of fulfillment and satisfaction.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.