Wouldn’t it be just great if we got up one day and found that all that we had ever wished for had come true? Unfortunately, the world is no fairy land and there are no fairy godmothers, replete with wands and crowns, waiting for us to just wish so that they can wave their wands and grant us what we want. In this world, if you want something, you have to work towards it. There is a saying in Tamil which translates to, ‘A peacock won’t shed its feather for you if you coax and cajole it; the feather has to be plucked out forcibly.’ This does not mean that you have to hurt the bird; what it implies is that you need to put in the effort to make something happen. Yet, even after huge efforts, we sometimes end up with nothing. Well then, in order that your efforts bear fruit, in order that they fetch you exactly what you want, here are some secrets that you should know about the subtle art of getting what you want.
First off, Know What You Want
Yes, you read that right. Ask yourself – do you know what exactly you want in your life? A bit from my experience – I was getting bored at my software job; I complained about that to my HR manager and whined about not getting a foreign assignment. By the time she got a foreign assignment for me, I had made up my mind to jump to another organisation. I cribbed to her about my pay being low and that being my reason for changing companies. In my new organisation, money was great, but on-site opportunities were hard to come by. So I cribbed to my new manager about not being able to go to the clients’ places and enjoy the foreign trips that my peers were enjoying.
Did I really know what I wanted? No. The art of getting what you want begins with first knowing what you want. It means having a crystal clear vision about where you want to reach, what you want to do and how you want to do it. Once you have that clarity in your mind, you will be able to focus all your energies towards that goal and successfully get what you want.
Simply Ask What You Want
‘Creating a great ask and learning to say no are two things that successful people do quite well,’ says Sarah Kathleen Peck, a writer and storyteller. It seems very simple and even silly but, more often than not, we fail to do just that – ask. We hesitate to be direct, to state clearly what we want and we beat around the bush. The poor recipient of the conversation often gets confused and we end up not getting what we want. This is especially true in love and marriage where the men are, quite often, left wondering what their women want.
As much as getting what you want depends on the art of asking what you want, it also matters who you ask. You might want to move to a different department in your organization but if you only keep cribbing about it to your immediate manager, he might not able to help you – he may just not have the powers. You have to wise up, and talk to the ones who matter, those who can make things happen.
Tackle that No With Persistence
Negotiate. Articulate your wants in a manner that the other party wants to listen to you and think about your request. You don’t have to climb atop a high rise and threaten to jump down if your demands are not met. Learn the subtle art of negotiation and know how to steer the other person into giving you what you want. You might not achieve your objective in one negotiation, but persist. Keep asking in many different ways. Persist ceaselessly, till you get exactly what you want. Sally Field, who played Mary Todd in Lincoln, was initially refused the part by the director Steven Spielberg, but she persisted and convinced Daniel Day-Lewis, the actor who played Lincoln, to attend a full costume trial with her – and the rest is history.
Be Nice and Know the Pressure Points
Flattery is not such a bad word after all. It does help in some places, especially when you want to get things moving your way. You don’t have to go overboard, just profess some genuine appreciation and admiration. Show you respect the other person for what he or she is. The other person might not actually believe you but, rest assured, your nice demeanor will surely soften him or her up into giving your wants their due consideration.
Another tactic that might work in some places is to apply a bit of peer pressure. If the party you want something from realises that there are others like them doing the same thing that you want, they are more likely to give in to your demands. Lucy Kellaway of Financial Times tells her readers in her column how she got talked into giving a speech in Scotland by a lady who mentioned to her that two of her former colleagues had done so too.
Free Yourself from the Fear of Rejection
When you are trying to get what you want, remind yourself you are doing it for yourself. Not to hurt someone, not to alienate someone or to make him or her your enemy. You want what you want for your own betterment. Telling yourself that will help you overcome the fear of asking. Many a times, it is this fear that keeps us from articulating our wants clearly, to ourselves and to others. Even if you do not get what you want by one means, you will get it by another – remember that, and you will easily survive the fear of rejection. Also do remember that no one got anything by not asking; and the worst that will happen is that you will get a no.