The one lesson my dad taught me that I've used throughout my life

Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDERMy dad and me after skydiving.

The INSIDER Summary:

• My dad has always told me “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

• This advice has proven valuable in multiple situations throughout my life.


My dad gives great advice.

Sometimes it’s solicited, sometimes it’s not, but either way, he’s guided me through everything from high school maths homework to signing my first lease.

However, throughout the years, there’s one specific piece of advice he’s always instilled in me: if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

What he means by that is, don’t be afraid to ask for something you want — as long as it’s a reasonable request, of course.

If you’re too timid and just stay quiet, you might end up missing out on a good opportunity.

Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDERMy dad and me during one of his visits to NYC.

And although I sometimes roll my eyes when he says that for the millionth time (only when we’re on the phone, obviously), it’s proven valuable advice in a number of situations throughout my life.

For example:

The first internship I had was essentially an internship that I created by walking into a boutique clothing store in downtown Chicago and asking the manager if she would be willing to have me as intern for the next couple months while I waited to leave to study abroad in Germany my junior year of college.

When I was looking to sign my first lease to rent an apartment in NYC with roommates, the room I wanted was originally $1150 per month. I asked the broker if I could pay $1100 instead. I ended up paying $1125, but that’s still $25 more in my pocket that I wouldn’t have had had I not asked in the first place.

So take it from me (and my dad): the worst that can happen is that someone tells you no. The best? That you get exactly what you wanted.

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