Ever wanted free stuff? We all do, getting something for nothing is a desire we as people all carry. However, most of the time there is a catch. Usually we have to ask. Most people don't approach a complete stranger and say, "hey, do you want X?" We have to step out of our comfort zones.

The power of simply asking is something that can subtly, and sometimes dramatically, change a person's life or the way that they do things. Stop and think about this; we as people ask for things all the time. We ask for food, we ask for dates, and we ask for feedback. We want it all for free. We ask because we desire something that we don't have. This can be services, items, or information. The power of asking really shines in the ability of a person to ask for something for free.

It is often easy to ask another person for something when it doesn't mean they lose anything. For example, asking somebody for the time. You want the free information of knowing the time, but the person you are asking is not giving anything up. They are not losing anything so this is an easy question. Why then is asking for something like a discount or for a free pass so difficult? This is because we are asking another person to give us something for nothing. That person, or the business they represent, is going to lose something by giving you what you ask for.

It takes courage to ask people for free stuff. Why is this?

Having the courage to ask, especially a complete stranger, is not always an easy task. Some of the reasons this may be difficult for some are as follows:

  • Fears of rejection - All people have the desire to be loved. This doesn't have to just be romantic love, but this can be in the form of acceptance from others. Most people don't like to be told the word, "no". Rejection can be a powerful hurdle in our ability to approach people and ask. Keep in mind, hearing the word no is not going to kill you. In fact, if you can handle it, it can actually empower you to step out and be more courageous in the future. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is they say, "no".
  • Fear of being an inconvenience - Have you ever rationalized yourself out of asking for something on the basis of not wanting to inconvenience a person? Ever said to yourself, "they look busy and they probably will say no anyway. I don't want to bother them."? This can be an opportunity killer. This problem is based in self-esteem. You might have the notion somewhere in your head that you are not worth it. This is incorrect thinking and this will only hinder your progress, especially in your ability to ask for free stuff.
  • Fear of confrontation - This is a big one. Most people I know will do most anything to avoid confrontation. This does not have to be in the form of a fight, but simply a person challenging your approach or pushing back. It is natural to receive some skepticism or awkward response when you approach a complete stranger and ask them for something. Especially asking for something for free! Confrontation gives us the opportunity to grow. Overcome this fear and your life will change forever.

One good example of a success story actually comes from a personal experience. I was going to watch a movie at our local movie theater. When it was my turn to buy my ticket, after stating the movie I wanted to see, I asked the girl behind the counter, "can I have a student discount?" Her response was, "Are you a student?" In response I said, "no, I just wanted the discount." After she looked at me, with what I thought was disapproval, I figured that it did not work and that was ok. At least I tried. However, much to my surprise, when I looked at my ticket stub as I entered I realized she had in fact given me the discount! A real testament to the power of asking for free stuff.

Keep in mind, this does not always happen. You will likely hear no far more than you hear yes. Just remember, it never hurts to ask and it doesn't cost anything. There is only potential for gain.

Try it out for yourself. You may be surprised at all the free stuff you can get.