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Ask and you shall receive

"Ask and you shall receive."

This is a well-known biblical principle. It is also one of the lessons I have learned in life again and again.

Just last week I was helping someone find an article in a journal. Since itwas a scholarly journal, it is not widely held in libraries. And it was not free on the Internet. It cost over $30 to purchase the article online.

After I did research about the journal and found the information, I could easily pass it on to a co-worker to get the requested article in the traditional way through inter-library loan. However, this process could have taken a couple of weeks.

Instead, I "Googled" one of the author names and found his contact information. I sent him an e-mail asking if he would send me a copy of the article. Within a few hours on the same day, I got the response from him along with the attached article.

I was happy because it saved us time, effort and cost.

What happened was not surprising to me though. I was quite confident that I would get what I asked for. I had similar experiences before. Mostly I get quick and positive responses.

I know authors are willing to share their articles, especially the scholars in academic institutions. They don't have many followers like best-selling authors do. They are very willing and happy to share their publications.

This incident reinforced my belief in the "Ask and you shall receive" principle. Had I not asked, I would not get what was needed in such short time and without any costs.

I have applied this principal in other areas of my life.

I asked for the opportunity to write this column. I got it without a problem.

I asked experts at the national level for information and advice. They responded with advice or referrals.

I asked for better pay. And I got a raise.

I asked for directions when I got lost. It saved me time.

I asked for items in the grocery store that were not on display to the public. I got them at a better price.

Naturally, I don't always get what I ask for. But the only way to get what I want or to find out the result is by simply asking.

Oftentimes we don't receive because we don't ask. We do so for several reasons.

We don't ask because we are afraid of rejection.

We are afraid the person we are asking will say no. This is a foolish notion.

By asking, we either get what we want which is better than before, or we get nothing which doesn't change anything. It can't get worse, it can only get better. We really have nothing to lose when we ask.

We don't ask because we are too proud.

We have a big ego. We feel embarrassed and uncomfortable asking for something. We don't want to look needy, weak, unintelligent or foolish. We want to appear like someone who knows everything, can do everything and rely on nobody.

But that is unrealistic.

We don't ask because we think we are unworthy of it.

When we have a low self- esteem, we might feel not good or worthy enough to ask and to receive.

The fact is no one is perfect. We are all a work in progress. By asking and seeking help, we can become better and more worthy.

We don't ask because we are pessimistic and negative.

People with pessimistic and negative attitudes like to say: "Why bother? It's impossible!"

Anything is possible. We need to have faith and be optimistic when we ask.

Here are a few more thoughts to help increase the chance of success.

We need to be generous and kind to other people when they ask for our help.

"You only receive what you give away." If we don't give in the first place, we can't expect others to give.

When asking, we are making a request, not a demand. We need to do so with a humble heart and a humble attitude.

While we should have confidence in asking and hope for positive results, we should also be prepared for rejection.

We can't expect success every time. We need to accept rejection graciously. Express gratitude when we receive, and show understanding when we don't receive.

Listen to that still voice or that gut feeling in ourselves when asking. Follow it instead of ignoring it.

Don't feel intimidated by people who have more power, status or wealth. Don't think they are too important or too busy to respond to our request for help. Most people are helpful.

It never hurts to ask. It doesn't cost anything. There is nothing to lose but possibly something to gain.

We may not get what we ask for, but we will never get what we don't ask for!

When we ask, we can get more out of life. So much more is ours just for the asking if we dare to ask, dare to dream.

When we stop asking, we stop receiving.

So let's remember, "Ask and you shall receive" and live this principle in our everyday life.