Self Confident People Ask For, and Often Get, What They Want

Today is Monday, Memorial Day in the USA, so this post is on self confidence.

I got a great lesson in self confidence yesterday from Cathy, my wife.  We are members of the Denver Art Museum.  We had been meaning to see a traveling exhibit, Inspiring Impressionism there ever since it opened.  It closed yesterday. 

We piled into our car and drove to the DAM.  As we were entering the parking lot, there was a sign saying that the Inspiring Impressionism show was sold out.  That was a drag, but all was not lost as there was another exhibit featuring the quilts of Gee’s Bend that we wanted to see.

Admission to the Museum is free for us because we are members.  When we entered the museum, a volunteer told us that the Inspiring Impressionism show was sold out.  I headed for the line that would let us in to see the permanent exhibits and the Gee’s Bend quilts. 

Cathy went to the will call for tickets for the Inspiring Impressionism.  She told the woman there that we were members, and asked if any tickets had been returned for yesterday.  Sure enough, two tickets were available, and we had an opportunity to see some great art. 

This reminded me of a story that I read in Randy Pausch’s book, “The Last Lecture.”

“On my dad’s last trip to Disney World, he and I were waiting for the monorail with Dylan, who was then four years old.  Dylan had this urge to sit in the vehicle’s cool looking nose cone, with the driver.  My theme park loving father thought that would be a huge kick too.

“‘Too bad they don’t let regular people site up there,’ he said. 

“‘Hmmmm,’ I said.  ‘Actually, Dad, having been an Imaginer, I’ve learned there’s a trick to getting to sit up front.  Do you want to see it?’”

“He said, ‘sure’.”

“So I walked over to the smiling Disney monorail attendant and said: ‘Excuse me could the three of us please sit in the front car?’

“‘Certainly, sir,’ the attendant said.  He opened the gate and we took our seats beside the driver.  It was one of the only times in my life I ever saw my dad completely flabbergasted.  ‘I said there was a trick,’ I told him as we sped toward the Magic Kingdom.  ‘I didn’t say it was a hard trick.’

“Sometimes all you have to do is ask.”

I relearned that lesson yesterday.  I had seen at least three signs and had one person tell me that there were no tickets available for the Inspiring Impressionism show.  I believed them, and was willing to give up.  Cathy was not so easily deterred.  She got us two tickets for the show.

The common sense point here is simple.  Self confident people ask for what they want.  They may not always get it, but often they do.  Randy Pausch and his father and son got to ride in the nose cone of the Disney World Monorail – because he asked.  Cathy and I got to see the sold out Inspiring Impressionism exhibit at the Denver Art Museum – because she asked.  Ask for what you want.  If you get it, great.  If you don’t, don’t take it personally.  I bet you’ll be surprised by how often you get the things for which you ask.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Happy Memorial Day to those of you in the USA.

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I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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  1. As a former Denver resident, and a former art museum member (in the 1980’s) I very much enjoyed your post on the art museum tickets. I can only imagine how much both the city and museum have grown if exhibits are now “sold out!”
    A very inspiring post on “Ask and thy shall receive,” or “Don’t give up without asking.”
    You are right–self-confident people are willing to “risk” being told “no,” in order to feel they have pursued all avenues, and if they are told “no,” they don’t take it personally. Non-self-confident people DO take it personally, which is why they aren’t willing to take the risk of being told “no” by asking.
    Very inspiring post.
    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  2. Madame Monet:
    Thanks for your comment.
    I saw some beautiful Monet’s (any relation to you?) on Sunday — some Manet’s too for that matter.
    The Denver Art Museum did a huge expansion a couple of years ago. The new part of the museum reminds me of a jet in flight. The old part still looks like a midevial (sp?)fortress.
    I wholeheartedly agree with what you have to say about confidence. Usually things aren’t personal, but a lack of confidence tends to make you think they are. I appreciate your very thoughtful response.
    PS — Come to Denver. Cathy and I will take you to the DAM and the new Center for the Peforming Arts — and if the season is right, a Bronco’s game.

  3. Good point. I use a similar point when I do my Orientations (I’m a Director for ITT Tech). I talk about a time I got to see Donald Driver (#80 for the Green Bay Packers) speak. He was giving a presentation to over 1,000 people in an auditorium when all of a sudden someone started yelling his name from the crowd. He stopped and asked what he could do for her. She said in a humble voice, “Can I have tickets for the game this weekend?” Honestly, how many times do you think pro athletes get asked this? He told her I’ll have two tickets at will call for you. As he went on someone else yelled his name. THe audience thinking she’d ask for tickets all groaned and laughed. She said, “Donald, I don’t need tickets, but could I have a hug?” He went down to her in the audience and gave her a hug. A few more minutes went by and a guy in the way back yelled down to him and said, “Donald, I don’t need tickets, and I don’t need a hug, but could my staff shake your hand, I brought them today and I think it would really motivate them.” Donald said of course and shook everyone of their hands. Because people had the courage to ask, someone got to go to a game, a woman got a hug from a pro athlete she looked up to, and a group of people got to shake his hand. Questions are powerful when you use them. Thanks for the good article-Regards William Vinson

  4. Bill:
    Great story. Thanks for sharing it. I like the fact that asking for — and getting — what you want can be contagious.
    All the best,

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