Learning to ask for what we really want and need may be one of life’s most underrated skills. Here, we talk about the art and importance of making authentic requests, and the role that skill can play in helping us create more compassionate, courageous relationships.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Asking — the art and importance of making requests based on your authentic desires, and the role that sort of enlightened asking can play in helping you create a more satisfying life.

We explore the perceived risks and fears of loss we tend to encounter in asking other people for anything — whether favors, changes, or resources.

We also address the opportunities that asking gives us to create more intimacy and connection with others, even as it helps us build a more compassionate and courageous relationship with ourselves.

Finally, we suggest some tips for more successful asking experiences, and we offer you some experiments to help you explore the transformative possibilities that asking might open up in your own life.

“Asking” Episode Highlights

  • Our cultural bias against inconveniencing others by asking for what we want, and the paradox of expecting to get what we want if we don’t make our desires known
  • The career freedom Pilar discovered when she realized — through asking — that her most essential desires were never going to be met in her current job
  • Why a lot of our default ways of trying to get what we want tend not to work out so well
  • Understanding our core desires, and exploring fears around the possible outcomes of expressing those desires
  • The feelings of frustration and inadequacy created by not being honest about what we truly want
  • Finding the good in the situation as it is, uncovering the seed of desire, and involving others in our improved health and happiness
  • Strategies for honest expression of our wants and needs that will help everyone feel good, regardless of the outcome

As you listened to this episode you probably thought of at least one thing you would like to ask for. Ask for it now.

Think about requests you’ve received from other people. Pick one that felt good to receive, and one that was harder to handle. Notice what made those asks feel the way they did, and explore the relational dynamics at play. The next time you ask for something, keep those insights in mind. Get started with a small request.

Share the Love!

Have you told your friends and family about The Living Experiment? If you dig it, please do! Every recommendation from you means a lot.

We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook. Tell us about your experiments, and share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.


  • Guidance for tapping into and understanding your desires from Danielle LaPorte.
  • Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk and book on “The Art of Asking”.
  • “Talk RX”, a fascinating feature on the healing power of authentic communication by Neha Sangwan, MD, via Experience Life magazine.
  • Related: our episode on the art of “Saying No”, which might help you feel better about asking and being declined, or declining the requests of others.
  • Our guest episode on “Winning Cycles” (featuring Morehouse teachers Boris Shekeloff and Sugar Goens-Baranco) which centers on a brilliant way of asking for what you want, and of building intimacy the process.