From a Teen’s Perspective: The power of asking

by Dylan Lanier on June 26, 2023

This column began with a single email. I had been interested in local journalism for a long time, but I was afraid to take the leap from my school paper to a professional news site. I drafted an email to InMenlo’s editor Linda Hubbard about starting my own column, but I didn’t send it at first. I was scared of rejection. What if this was my “one shot” and I blew it?

Then, a few days later, I re-read the email and realized that I regretted not sending it earlier. In fact, I realized that my regret was stronger than the initial fear had been in the first place. I decided that I would rather risk rejection than feel sorry for myself later. So I sent the email, and well, here I am writing my 21st article.

The power of asking isn’t something you learn in school, but it’s just as important to your success as any other subject. The premise is simple: asking for opportunities improves your chances of success.

If you wait around for an opportunity to arrive, who knows how long it will take, and who knows whether the opportunity you’re looking for will arrive. Asking puts you in greater control of your own destiny, both because you play a larger role in directing your life journey and because asking for things asserts your confidence and communicates to other people — like employers — that you are excited and ready for what your life has in store.

In a way, asking can be seen as a form of manifestation: just by going out for a new position or taking someone on a date, you are enacting your will in pursuit of your goals.

However, while it’s easy to admit that the power of asking is real and effective, it’s undeniably hard to put it into practice. Why is that?

First off, we sometimes feel like we don’t deserve an opportunity and therefore we shouldn’t ask for it. This negative thought pattern is not only harmful but extremely false. Your desire to succeed is your qualification. If you’re willing to put yourself out there and work hard, you can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t let self-doubt — which presents a warped image of your abilities — get in the way of just taking a chance.

Most of us are wired to stay in our comfort zones. We like what feels safe, and that isn’t a bad thing. If we were always uncomfortable, life wouldn’t be very enjoyable. However, life would also be less satisfying if we didn’t take risks.

It’s easier to accept what you dislike about your current life than step out of your comfort zone and improve it. However, this mindset can gradually be overcome.

Start with the little things. Ask your boss if you can take on a new task, or ask your teacher for extra help on a topic after class. That way, you’ll have the courage to ask for the bigger things, like an internship or a raise.

Whenever you stand at the precipice of taking that risk, remember that just by asking, you are beating out the large majority of people who would never take a chance, and the worst case scenario is a “no” that can easily be remedied with a bowl of ice cream and a good movie.

So the next time you’re faced with an opportunity to pursue your goals, have enough faith in your talent and your character to stand up against the fear of rejection and utilize the power of asking to create the life that you want to live.

Got any topics you want me to cover? Email

From a Teen’s Perspective is a weekly column contributed by Menlo-Atherton High School rising Senior Dylan Lanier, who has lived in Menlo Park since he was two.

Photo is for illustrative purposes only

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