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“Can I? Please?”

August 13, 2014

kid wantMy niece and nephew ask for things all day long; it’s part of being a kid. They can’t just hop in the car and drive to where they want to go. They need adults. Which is why they ask, “Can I have ice cream?” “Can I go to the arcade?” “Can I have this new toy?” While they don’t get everything they ask for, occasionally (especially when visited by a doting aunt) they do. Whatever they get is better than the nothing they would get if they didn’t ask.

Take it a step further.

One evening last year I was waiting for a friend in the lobby of the Time Warner building when a well-dressed man approached me. “You’re beautiful,” he said. “Can I take you to dinner?” Sure I was flattered, but as I kindly thanked him for the compliment and said no to his offer, I realized this guy probably approached several women with the same line. Maybe he asks 10, 20, even 100 women. His odds are such that one woman is probably going to say yes. Even if he asks 1,000 women, his odds are better than the zero percent he’d get if he sat at home watching another episode of House of Cards.

One more scenario.

As an author, one unpleasant part of the publishing process is sending out your manuscript. Self-publishing has eliminated this most dreaded task, but for those wanting to go the traditional route, it’s the only option. An author may send their work to 10, 20, even 100 publishers hoping that one will love it and agree to publish their masterpiece. But soon enough, responses begin to come in. One rejection. Another rejection. A third. And so on. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and even Anne Frank’s diary were rejected many, many times. The one thing each of these authors didn’t do after each “No” they received, was give up. How different is that from a little kid asking for a candy bar every time they’re in the supermarket check out line?

So sure, while it may get a tad annoying when little kids ask repeatedly for something they want, occasionally getting it may just teach them the value of never giving up.


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  1. Thomas Evans permalink

    Theodore Giesel – not sure I spelled it right, Dr. Suess’s creator, had taken his stuff to everyone, and had decided to go into the family dry cleaning business when a friend talked him into one more stop with an acquaintance in some obscure publishing house. Rest is history!


  2. Deluxe. U R super great! Say hi to mom, dad, Jackie and Merry for us xo maxine

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Jackie Burkey permalink

    One of my sales managers used his kids an an example of never giving up. In sales, every day for every yes you got, there were an average of 5 no’s. one of my professors gave us an assignment once. We had to go out and ask ten people for ten different things. They couldn’t be inconsequential.. Like a napkin from a waitress- but a bit more… Like “it’s my friends birthday here, do you think we could get an extra free dessert? Etc. When we all came back to class we had an average of 2/10 yesses. The point was if we hadn’t asked, we wouldn’t have gotten those two things. An lastly, I’ll quote an old regional director I had…”ask for what you want or settle for what you get!” 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Richard Aberson permalink

    Absolutely agree—-never,Ever give up

  5. Tracey permalink

    As always, I love your story! It kind of gives me a reminder that I have to speak up and be heard. Otherwise, I might as well just sit and watch the House of Cards 🙂

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