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Asking for What You Want Is a Superpower

Jeremiah Rogers
Jeremiah Rogers
1 min read

When you want something do you ask for it or do you just hope it will show up?

Here's a famous story: In the late 1960's a twelve-year-old Steve Jobs cold-called Bill Hewlett, the founder of Hewlett-Packard, to ask for spare electronic parts for a frequency counter Steve was building. Not only did Hewlett give him the parts, but he also gave Steve a summer internship building frequency counters at Hewlett-Packard.

How different would the world be today if Steve hadn’t called Bill Hewlett?

Steve might have never gotten the early life experience he needed with electronics to found Apple. Apple’s influence has been so strong on the computer industry that we would probably have radically different computers from the ones we have today if not for actions like that phone call.

This story came to mind as I was thinking about the power of asking for what you want.

Asking is a superpower. Asking requires knowing what you want, putting it into words, and finding the right person to ask who might be able to give it to you.

Each of those three steps is hard. It's hard to admit what you want, it's hard to describe it clearly enough that someone could give it to you, and it's scary to ask someone and risk them saying "no". That's why most people never do it.

But asking is incredibly powerful because it requires you to do so much work ahead of time. Asking converts the intangible into a "yes" or "no" decision. Even if the answer is "no", the act of asking brings something much closer to reality than not asking.

That's why asking is so powerful.

P.S. You can watch the original interview with Steve. The Silicon Valley Historical Association YouTube channel has a bunch of other great videos as well.