A Simple Strategy To Get More Of What You Want

We all learn important lessons, and if we are smart we even remember to use them once in a while.

For me, one of the best lessons ever is one of the simplest: Gaylen Paulson, who led an excellent class on negotiation at the University of Texas at Austin, gives one of the most straightforward and most effective pieces of advice I have ever heard:
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Always ask for the things you want, even if you don’t think you can get them.”

He would challenge his classes to see who could get the most benefit in 30 days by using this technique. Back when I was in graduate school, I ended up with about $22,000 that I would not otherwise have gotten – just because I was willing to ask. Gaylen was impressed. (I am not sure, but I may still hold the record for the challenge.) I was able to secure a corporate sponsorship for about half of my graduate school expenses, a new car for $4,000 less than anybody would have believed, and several other significant benefits in the three weeks after being challenged with this simple idea.

What To Do Differently:

  1. Decide that anything is possible to achieve.
  2. Ask for what you want; with humor, confidence, and without self consciousness.


For the next month, look for opportunities to ask for things that you want, but would not normally think you could get. Ask for an upgrade to first class at the ticket counter. Ask for a lower price, a better deal, extra service. The point is to “ask”. Ask with a smile on your face and in a way that relates to the humanity of  the people in front of you. The worst that can happen is they say “no”. You will be surprised at the number of situations in which you get a “yes” — which is a powerful lesson.

Opening the door for more positive outcomes can be as simple as asking.

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Kevin Ready

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