It was the day of my father’s surgery. As expected, we all were apprehensive, most of all, my father. With the pre-op procedures underway, the nurse prepared to administer the anestesia. Thankfully my father asked which medication they were planning on using.
You see, my father was what I call an active participant in life. He was never satisfied with vague details. He wanted to understand the intricacies of things rather than blindly accept the advice of a professional.
Just by asking a simple question, he was able save himself from being administered a medication he was highly allergic to… a medication he had specifically mentioned in his earlier appointment with the anesthesiologist. Needless to say, the anesthesiologist quit on the spot and wrote in my father’s chart that he refused treatment.
I tell you that story because it’s a life/death situation related to being your own advocate. But the idea of personal responsibility for your own self-interests occurs in countless other ways.
There’s the jewelry dealer who tells you that his is the lowest price you’ll find for that piece. The auto mechanic who recommends you have X,Y,Z repaired, or else. The Customs Agent who says you’re breaking the law by not answering her questions. The boss who assures you that the company won’t be laying anyone off; only to receive your pink slip a week later.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting you be paranoid about people’s intentions nor greedy and selfish in your own best interest.
Do you know what you want?
Or at least know what you don’t want?
You should have clear short-term and long-term objectives for yourself. This is easily defined if you’re a crappy salesman: I want to get you to buy my product. The objective for a good salesman? I want to help my customers solve their problems.
You then pass the possibilities through those filters.
But this transpires in other ways too. Someone suggests lunch at a restaurant you can’t stand. It’s not too big of a deal to suggest eating someplace else.
But what if your friend owes you money? You then have to decide which is more important to you, maintaining the friendship or getting your money back.
So you know you need to lookout for yourself and figure out what exactly it is that you want/need. The final step is self-actualization: follow through to achieve your potential.
Often times people don’t ask for what they want. I don’t know whether its because they’re afraid of being too straight forward or the possibility of rejection.
The thing most don’t realize is that not asking is the same thing as a “no.”
You will get often get rejected. Get over it.
DO NOT assume someone knows what you want. Communicate it openly to avoid being disappointed. Doing so also prevents you from being victimized. Do things happen to you or do you make things happen?
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own life. Be an active participant.