Career Woman

Are you willing to get what you are willing to give?


I just read about an experiment where people had to ask complete strangers for things with the express purpose of getting a “no” for an answer.  Most of the participants thought about situations where they themselves would say “no” and asked for that. For example, imagine someone coming to your table in a nice restaurant and telling you that your fries look wonderful, and asking for one from your plate.

The participants were surprised by how difficult it actually was to get “no” for an answer. Most of them got a “yes” – even to the weirdest demands (sure, have a fry from my plate!). But the same participants were even more surprised when they tried to give something back in return – when they tried to compensate the initial favour. This is where they heard “no” most often. People seemed to be much more willing to give something to a complete stranger than to accept something from them in return.

It seems that is the way we function with money. Most people say they would be ready to accept cash as a gift, and dream of having someone just gifting them a significant amount of money. But let’s be realistic: if someone offered you a million dollars on the street, would you say, “oh thank you”? Or would you think there was something weird about the situation, and reply – initially – with an absolute “no”? We are much more willing to give money to the people who ask for it, than we are to accept it ourselves.

What if a major component of having money was to receive what people are offering you? And I am not only talking about cash.  Would you be willing to just say “yes, thanks” if someone gifts you a cup of coffee? If they offer a ride? Or would you reject the offer, or perhaps try to pay for it after accepting it? Would you feel like a thief, or in debt, if you didn’t at least try to say “no”? We are all eager to give.  That is the nice, polite, and generous thing to do. But we are seldom willing to receive.

We are taught that there should be compensation for everything we receive – that you have to give when and what people ask for, in order to be ‘nice’.  We are told that if you don’t share, you are rude. What if there is another possibility?

Think of little kids, how do you feel when you offer a child a piece of candy, and they take it, smile and thank you? What if you chose to be the one creating that feeling for everyone around you? Would you be willing to start asking for more, and then receive what you get? Are you willing to say “yes” to what life gives you – even when it comes from total strangers?

This isn’t about getting or demanding things or begging for things. It is something different. It implies getting real with yourself, knowing what you want, asking for it, and receiving it, in whatever form it shows up. I use the word receiving purposefully: receiving involves no resistance. It is about being open to whatever comes into your life, with genuine gratitude, without filtering what you get, and without a sense of obligation.

Receiving is about non-judgement: It is a space where you don’t judge or react to situations and events and you know that, in this mindset of non-judgement, everything that can come into your life can be a gift. We think that things have to look a certain way for us to receive them. What if we could receive things, regardless of how they show up?

You don’t automatically receive from life: Most of us think that if we are good enough, productive enough, fast enough, or kind enough, everyone will notice and then we will get what we want, without having to ask for it.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work like that.

It’s okay to receive just for you: Socrates, the Greek philosopher, said “to move the world, we must first move ourselves”. What if you started considering yourself first? It’s okay to ask yourself what you really want, and then actually receive it. Despite what you may hear or believe, this is not being selfish.

Not being willing to receive limits what you can have in life:  If you are not happy with what you already have, acknowledge where you have been saying “no thanks” to life, instead of just “thanks.” Be willing to know what you want, and to ask for it.

How much more could you have in your life if you were more willing to receive what life is offering you? How much more money, and gifts, and fun could you have? Are you willing to give it a try?

About Elena Blanco

With over 20 years of experience in executive roles within world class corporations, Elena Blanco is a skilled communicator and negotiator. She has created and lead high-performing teams and successful business strategies both in the public and private sectors. She is an entrepreneur, with an international practice where she coaches others on how to change their lives for the better. She is a Wealth Creators Anonymous facilitator, a special program of Access Consciousness, and a business coach with an MSc. in Economics. Her unique combination of corporate experience, coaching and entrepreneurship, along with her passion for creating a greater world, gives her the capabilities to empower others to create more in their lives and businesses.

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