How to mathematically improve the odds of getting what you want.

When was the last time you asked for something that seemed like a long shot? When was the last time you put yourself out on a a limb? For a lot of people, the fear of hearing “no" can be enough to dissuade them from asking something too ridiculous. And for others, making ridiculous requests has become a habit.

What I’ve come to realize is that, with a few exceptions, people are people just like you who want to help other people, don’t mind extending a hand and are willing to listen. So ask. It may be a bit forward but you accomplish several things by asking:

You Increase the Number of People Who Know Your Dream

If you never let anyone know what you’re working on, no one will be able to help you out. Sometimes, even when you’re initially told “no,” they’ll turn right around and put you in touch with someone who CAN help you out. Or point you to another resource. Or give you a piece of good advice to learn from. And when they run across someone later down the road who they think you would appreciate meeting, they might even introduce you.

But none of those things will happen if no one knows what you’re working on.

You Increase Your Network

A solid network has both quantity and quality. Getting quantity isn’t difficult. Attend any networking event and you can pass out a hundred business cards with ease. But getting quality can take some time. Rarely will people introduce you to someone more important than themselves — generally it’ll be a linear introduction. So how do you meet people who are higher up the social ladder than you? You ask.

Whether you’re asking for a job, a favor, or just a few minutes of someone’s time, the very act of putting your request in front of them puts you on their mind. The next time an opportunity presents itself, guess who is more likely to come to mind? You. The person who asks is at least showing interest and ambition which puts a few points in your column.

You Increase the Likelihood of Getting What You Want

It’s basic mathematics. The more people you ask, the higher the likelihood of getting a “yes." If you don’t ask, you’re 100% guaranteed to not get a “yes."

Take a little risk. Put yourself out there. Ask something just a bit ridiculous and see if you get what you want. After all, you'll never know until you try.