I just watched one of the most moving video clips by Amanda Palmer on the ‘art of asking.’ It has caused me to reflect and want to write about it – as it feels so pertinent to the health and evolution of every being on the planet at this time. In her story, which I am sharing below via her Ted video stream, she speaks of the importance of each of us learning to ask for what it is we need, instead of thinking we have to ‘convince’ one another – as marketing has taught us – that we ‘need’ the services of others. Is there an art-form to this asking thing??
In business, it does not seem like a smart approach not to charge for your products and services, but then instead ask people to give you money, just because they want to – and yet Amanda has shown this to work. In life, we are taught that ‘nothing comes for free’, that we have to ‘work hard for results’ and ‘people can’t be trusted.’ We are literally trained not to trust other human beings, to protect ourselves from possible harm and law suits and through all this – we create a distance and separation between us that seems difficult and awkward to bridge.
As humans, we are born to respond to the needs of others. It is almost as if we are just waiting for the moment when we can be of service, real service – out of the goodness of our hearts – and yet those moments seem few and far between. When we really need someone, we often feel silly or guilty asking for help – as if our asking will somehow ‘put the person out’ or inconvenience them in some way. We are trained to become so independent and self-reliant, that we have lost the ability to simply ask for what we need and have – I believe – short circuited ourselves from the real purpose of living – connection.
Amanda Palmer has a beautiful story of starting her music career in an unlikely way, a way others criticized her for, labeling her as practically a beggar. But through her early ‘work’ experience she learned the value of connecting, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye with people – an art which has carried her through her music career and allowed her to become very successful. Unlike many ‘stars’, she thrives with her fans and has built her business through connecting with people at a very real level. She asks for what she needs – be it a couch to crash on, food to eat or musical equipment on the spot. What she has learned is that when you ask for something, sincerely, from the heart – giving love and appreciation in the process – people want to give and give immediately.
I am personally inspired by the acts of Amanda Palmer and encourage you to watch this video and see how you too can incorporate the beautiful ‘art of asking’ into your own life – as she has – I know I am. Perhaps if we can all do this, the world will transform into a much more generous, less fearful place. I am grateful for modern examples of pure living. Thank you Amanda Palmer.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: My own inspiration and the video you see above