“If there is anything I would want to give advice on to anyone trying to get ahead in life or to create something out of nothing, you never know until you ask!”

If there is anything I would want to give advice on to anyone trying to get ahead in life or to create something out of nothing, you never know until you ask! Whether I’m talking about at work, or school, or in relationships, you must be willing to speak up when it comes to creating or seeking new opportunities. Usually, no one is going to hand you anything and you’re going to have work for it but if you don’t seek out possibilities, you’ll never know whether the answer is going to be ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ There’s nothing to lose when it comes to pursuing your goals in life and in putting yourself out there.

As a big fan of popular movies, there is one line from the film, ‘The Departed’, given by actor Jack Nicholson’s character, Frank Costello, a cynical mobster turned FBI informant, about how in life, “no one gives it to you…you have to take it.” While I understand that I’m referring to a mob movie here with horrible people as the main characters, the point still stands that in life, you must go after what you want and assume that no one is going to give it to you. There will be a few times where your work will be rewarded, and you will receive some praise and even adulation for what you did. However, there will also be times where you must apply for that job or university spot, seek out that big promotion, volunteer for that promising opportunity, take the entrance exam, or study that foreign language.

There will always be a 0% chance of something happening for you unless you open your mouth and make the words come out. You give yourself a possible chance just by asking for it (nicely, of course). Whereas before you would have a zero chance because you haven’t sought out the opportunity or made your interest known, now you have anywhere as good from a 1% chance to a 100% chance. Let your resume, repertoire, resilience, and other attributes speak for themselves when other people are evaluating your abilities and qualifications but that only will get you so far if you don’t strike up the courage to ask for it.

Also, do not be discouraged if the answer is ‘no.’ Rejection is going to come more often than being told ‘yes’ and that is going to happen throughout your life. You have to be comfortable with being told ‘no’ and get used to it. Being rejected will only make hearing ‘yes’ that much sweeter and rewarding in the long run. Be bold and be brave but remember to only press the other person or people deciding your offer so far and to thank them for their consideration if that ‘no’ is final. Don’t let it hurt you or get you down but remember to keep pushing forward because eventually, if you work hard, are earnest in your intent, and believe in what you are doing, I do believe you will get to that ‘yes’ you are hoping to hear.

Being able to ask for anything is a key skill and if you propose the question and be comfortable with the answer whatever it may be, you will get far in life. Asking is integral especially for sales if your job entails that, for getting a relationship with the person you love, and for that promotion from your supervisor, who you may have to convince why you deserve it, but you do have to ask for it first. With any kind of result in life, you need to work for it, build your credentials up, and then ask for it. While we would like to think that our life’s work or our past experiences should speak for themselves, often, that will not be enough to get you past the goal line.

If you really want to get ahead and take yourself further with business, work, relationships, or just getting help from a stranger, you got to ask for it. If you take away anything from what I’m telling you is that it is much better to have asked, then not having asked at all. You never know until you make that ask and it’s better than living with the regret of having not asked in the first place. There will be ‘no’s and it will lead to feelings of frustration, disappointment, and even sadness, but you will get to those ‘yes’s if you keep asking, keep trying, and keep doing the best you can in whatever you pursue.

Think also of how we only have one life to live, and I would personally rather live it with no or just a few regrets than having many regrets that take up all my mind space. Get comfortable with asking for what you want in life and don’t apologize for it if it was sincere. I think people will appreciate you going for what you want in the right way and being earnest about it. That kind of sincere approach will also help you get more ‘yes’s than ‘no’s too and help you stand out from other people asking. There is the related popular saying, “you never know until you try”, which I wholeheartedly agree with, especially for children and teenagers. However, when it comes to us in the adult world, the saying I like to leave you with is also true in that “you never know until you ask.”



The Life and Times of Ben Weinberg

English Teacher, Entrepreneur, World Traveler, and Writer from New York.