When I was a youngin’ in the game, one of my best friends to this day taught me an extremely important lesson when he told me, “I hate asking other people for anything.”

At first I was really perplexed as I often ask others for stuff, whether it’s help, an intro or lending me something. As I grew, I saw certain people with huge networks who were able to get a lot because I assumed they had asked people.

What I came to realize was the power of self-reliance and the joy of offering something. Think about a simple instance of somebody next to you needing a pen. You noticed they were looking for a pen, so you went out of your way to offer it. They were thrilled to see that you noticed and cared, and you felt good because you felt useful.

Now think of that same instance where they asked you for a pen, sure you probably still gave it to them, but you didn’t feel good, you felt like you were their stepping stone. People hate to be used! So don’t use them!

People do things for themselves, not for you. People like to be helpful more than they like to help… When people give a homeless person a dollar, they like to help that homeless person, but are more so driven by the fact that they were helpful… and there’s nothing wrong with that, so use it to your advantage. Give people an opportunity to be helpful, instead of an opportunity to help you. 

So in practice…

  • If you want an intro, ask if they think the person you want an intro to would be helpful? They’ll probably say yes and offer up the intro.
  • If you want advice, don’t ask a question and put a burden on their time. Instead, say you think they can help.
  • If you want them to give you something you want. Give them something they want and you’d be surprised how often the favor is returned.

So please…. Don’t ask them and try to get them to do it for you. Instead of give them the mental spark and ownership of the thought and action of helping you!