Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ask for a Favour from a Stranger!

How can you turn around someone who doesn’t like you now? Or, how can you break the ice with someone who is a stranger?

You may want to try the great US inventor, diplomat and statesman Benjamin Franklin’s way.

There was an opposition member in the Pennsylvanian legislature whom Benjamin Franklin needed help from but the gentleman was cool, if not hostile, towards him.

Human instinct would tell us not to approach the person for fear of rejection. But not Ben Franklin who knew the ways of humans well. What did Ben Franklin do?

Ben Franklin found out that the gentleman who was an ardent fan and expert on a certain authour, had a rare and precious book by that authour.

What Ben Franklin did was counter-intuitive.

Ben Franklin approached the gentleman and asked to borrow his precious book by the authour. The gentleman though surprised by Ben Franklin’s request and was hesitant at first, eventually relented because gentlemanly politeness required him to accede to Ben Franklin’s request.

Slowly but surely a friendship developed between the gentleman and Ben Franklin, all because Ben Franklin had the audacity to ask his rival for a big favour.

How does this work?

It is based on the principle that the mind and body are one.

When the gentleman was initially forced to be nice to Ben Franklin, his mind had to follow; otherwise it will be very uncomfortable for him. By lending his precious book to Ben Franklin, the gentleman unconsciously had to convince himself that Ben Franklin was a good man worthy of such a big favour from him. In this way, the gentleman achieved congruence in mind and body.

Once the ice was broken, Ben Franklin had the opening to build a long and fruitful relationship with his rival.

Had the gentleman rejected Ben Franklin’s request, the approach would not have worked. So, this approach is a risky one but the payoffs can be big, if it succeeds.

So ask a favour from someone who doesn’t like you or who is a stranger, and he may become your best friend.

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