Asking: A Lost Form of Communication?

While reading The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, the art of asking the right questions comes up frequently in the book. As a society we seem hesitant to really seek out what we desire, and appear to just accept whatever comes our way as is. I think asking for what we want with precise language is a lost form of communication. We tend to speak in commands, short bursts, conveying our feelings and emotions but I don’t think always getting across the exact words we want to say.

I’m guilty of this many times within the home. When you see your children running from one room to the next, instead of saying, “Please walk.” or “Soft feet.” it’s so much easier to say, “Don’t run in the apartment!” Delivering expectations in negative commands or short burst assuredly triggers the thought process within the child to hear the word “run” and instantly tune out “Don’t!”. Our children speak back to us in these same negative tones when they are frustrated. My youngest daughter will often tell us not to yell or raise our voices, when she would be better off stating, “Can you please not raise your voices, it scares me like my birth family did in the past?”

Where I work now, asking for specific vacation time has never been a problem. I realize that working overnights my supervisor needs a decent amount of lead time before filling my slots. So I plan 3-4 weeks in advance (sometimes up to 6 weeks) when I want a vacation, and often I ask other people in my department if they wish to cover my shifts so I can let my supervisor know when I email her the details. I remember being in that position as a manager of a group home, having 10 staff people and juggling around holiday and vacation requests while getting the needs of our house met (staffing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year).

Think about it. When you want something, the more specific you are about what you ask for, the more likely (even if you receive a no) you may receive help from someone else who can steer in the right direction. How often have you said, “I want more money, I want a bigger house, I want another car, I want time off, I want to lose weight.” and your wishes magically turn into your goals? Ask for what you want in vivid, broad details- put up poster boards with dream maps of what specifically you desire and then continually ask for what you want again and again and again.

Practice the art of asking. If you are promised certain service, ask for it. If you want a better hotel room, ask for it. Place questions in a positive frame of mind, and take out all of the negative words before asking them. Be prepared to show people why you want the privileges and values you are asking for. What’s the worst that can happen? Remember- no means “next”, we move on to the next person and make that same request.

Go for what you really want out of life. Add a second or third income revenue stream. Start that new sport or hobby. Make quality time for your children as they grow up. Take that college course or upgrade your skills to get that master’s or doctorate degree. Time will pass us by one way or another- and if you feel like five years or seven years is too long of a time to take, then really look at whether you want that goal bad enough, or if it’s just a passing fad.

Ask for the tougher stuff now- I’m sure it will make the easier requests go smoother. Let us know some of your favorite stories regarding asking for what you want- and how you overcame obstacles or used persistence to achieve your dreams.


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