The Five Barriers to Asking
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen


1.  Ignorance

Many of us don't know what to ask for.  Either we don't know what is available to us because we have never been exposed to it, or we are so out of touch with ourselves that we no longer are able to perceive our real needs and wants.  Some of us have become so numbed out that we are simply unaware of our natural yearnings and desires.  We no longer know what we really want.

Most of us don't know how to ask.  We have never learned the technology of making an effective request.  We have not seen these effective communication skills modeled in our homes and we were not taught them in our schools or at work.

Many of us don't know whom to ask and when to ask.  We have not learned how to identify likely prospects who can deliver what we ask for whether it be a hug, sage advice, or an order for something we are selling.  And many of us have never learned to read the nonverbal cues that people send us that tell us "I'm with you" or "not now."

2.  Limiting and Inaccurate Beliefs

The second barrier to asking for what we want are the limiting and negative beliefs that have been programmed into our subconscious and which now silently control all of our actions.

We are born with an empty data bank that has to be programmed.  Many of us are hindered in our asking for and getting what we want by the negative and limiting beliefs we have taken on from our parents, teachers, churches, peers, and the media.  We can become constricted and even paralyzed by this parental and cultural conditioning.

We are taught that it is better to give than to receive; that if he really loved me, I wouldn't have to ask; and that being needy is a weakness.  We have learned from our failures and our traumatic experiences in life that if you don't want too much, then you won't be disappointed; don't expect too much from men like your father; and it is safer to keep your mouth shut and appear the fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

3.  Fear

As a result of the negative, painful, and shameful experiences of our childhood, we become afraid to participate, afraid to go after those things we truly want and desire.  We become afraid of rejection, looking foolish, losing face and being vulnerable and hurt by others.  As a result of those fears, we become passive.  We settle for less than we really want and we sit in judgment of others who are getting what we want.  We don't have the courage to ask for or the self-discipline to create.  We end up using all of our energy to protect ourselves against boogey men we have created in our minds instead of using those energies to create what we want.

We face fears such as the fear of rejection, the fear of looking stupid, the fear of being powerless, the fear of humiliation, the fear of punishment, the fear of abandonment, and the fear of endless obligation.

4.  Low Self-Esteem

According to several recent studies, only one out of three of us has high self-esteem.  "Look to your right and look to your left.  Only one of you is okay!" is the standard line we use in our seminars.  One out of three!  We are suffering from a national epidemic of low self-esteem.

Most of us feel unworthy of love, happiness and fulfillment and inadequate to create the kind of life we want.  We suffer from inferiority complexes, neurotic guilt, and a lack of self-confidence.  As a result, we don't believe our needs and wants are important and worthy of pursuing.  We become codependent from our belief that other people's needs are more important than our own--especially the needs of men, our children, our aging parents, our boss, the homeless, and the needy.  We sacrifice our own fulfillment on the altar of taking care of others.

5.  Pride

Many of us, especially men, get stuck in our pride.  We become too arrogant to admit we need anyone or anything.  We will not stop to ask for directions, advice, or help.  We are convinced we need to do everything ourselves--usually perfectly and usually on the first try--or we risk the loss of respect, friendship, and our own sense of adequacy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Think of the benefits of knowing how, when, and whom to ask for everything you want:  fewer disappointments in relationships, more effective team efforts at work, cleaner negotiations at the bargaining table, the money you need to start a business, fewer fights with your parents and children, the extra instruction and support you need, less suffering in the silent despair of loneliness, and the causes you support receiving funding they need to continue their good works.  Literally a whole new world can open up to you and everyone you care about.

You can ask for a hug, comfort, listening, forgiveness, attention, time, intimacy, caring, respect, love, nurturing, a massage, healing energy, prayers, an explanation, loyalty, sexual fidelity and a 100 percent commitment.

You can ask for a helping hand around the house, a favor, someone to keep a secret, help with your homework, the loan of a sweater or jacket, private tutoring, information, help with a project, your kids' cooperation, someone to baby-sit, swimming lessons, money for the movies, participation in a car pool, help with a flat tire, the loan of the family car or compliance with rules.

Don't wait until everything is just right.  It will never be perfect.  There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less-than-perfect conditions.  So what?  Get started now.  With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.  Everything you want also wants you.  But you have to take action to get it.  The time for dreaming is over.  It is time to get up and start asking for what you want.  Start slowly and build up; jump right in and start with bold and outrageous requests.  Either way is fine.  Do what feels right for you.  Just get started.

Personal happiness.  Creative fulfillment.  Professional success.  Freedom from fear--and a new promise of joy that's yours for the asking.  We have the ability at our fingertips to achieve these things.  It's the Aladdin Factor:  the magical wellspring of confidence, desire--and the willingness to ask--that allows us to make our wishes come true.  The Aladdin Factor helps us by pinpointing the major stumbling blocks to asking--and teaching simple techniques to overcome them.  With inspirational stories about people who have succeeded by asking for what they want, this book shows us how to turn our lives around--no matter what kinds of obstacles we face. 

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If you overcome your fear to ask someone for a date, a raise,
or help with a project, that is an act of self-assertiveness.  You
are moving out into life rather than contracting and withdrawing.

Nathaniel Branden
Self-Esteem Every Day



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How is your life limited by your fear?  What are you not doing that you'd
really like to do?  When we use fear to our advantage by tackling those
things that evoke a sense of excitement and trepidation, fear becomes and
ally.  Each experience provides a challenge and an opportunity to expand
your comfort zone.  The way to create an extraordinary life is to make
the challenge of fear work for you by building your courage muscles.

Cheryl Richardson
Stand up for Your Life


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