These days a book published in 1985 fell into my hands that took me back to stages of my early youth. "The Aladdin Effect", title of the book, intends to demonstrate in its development that "in order to get hit, you have to ask" or in popular lexicon that "the baby that does not cry, does not breastfeed".

To the extent that I got into reading this self-help text, I walked through different situations in my life that without a doubt meant, to some extent, lost opportunities. I remembered, for example, when I was taken as a child to visit my uncle Tony Manrique, a generous brother of my maternal grandmother.

The teaching in our home was clear that any time we were offered anything - candy, a ride in the car or a gift - we should reject it as a sign of good manners. But it was the case that my dear uncle honored me on each visit with a gift of five bolivars! at a time when the equivalent of 20 sodas could be purchased with that amount. The rite then consisted of my uncle's attempt to give me his coveted obolus and I refused him without much emphasis; in the end he had to “convince me” so that I, with great dignity, would accept.

And let's not talk about the opportunities that one loses in matters of love. How many times have we not had in front of our noses the woman of our life and we have not dared even to sketch a slight smile.

I remember that as a teenager I practiced salsa and merengue dancing in the solitude of my room but shyness prevented me from risking the public launch of my skills. The fear of rejection kept me away from the dance floors forever until one day, Judith Ruiz, an intuitive friend, forced me, in an act of feminine strength, to dance with her “La Vaca Vieja”, to the sound of the unforgettable Billo's Caracas Boys.

From then on everything was “sewing and singing” but Natacha, who was the one who really fascinated me, had already tied up with a boy from the block who was a rock 'roll dancing phenomenon. And let's not talk about the girls. From childhood they are taught to be dignified and indifferent to the specimens of the opposite sex to the point that they make it very difficult for us at the time of the conquest, despite the fact that inside they are dying to give in...

Knowing this facet of human nature, Dale Carnegie affirmed that "the sale begins when the client says no". And when we are grown up and enter the business world, this behavior could become a heavy burden to achieve business success.

Very often we refrain from asking questions so as not to appear ignorant to our subordinates, bosses or co-workers. Sometimes we "fly by instruments" to make others believe that we master a certain subject.

In this sense, I have always admired my friend Jacobo Pimentel - "Neverota" for his intimates - for the immense capacity he had to ask questions, even on topics that he mastered perfectly. Neverota told me mischievously that the best way to flatter someone was to make them talk about what they knew.

At other times we believe that we are not important enough to deserve a promotion, a loan or a simple hug or we are stupidly proud to dare to ask for something that we justly deserve. Some of us go so far as to be lazy even to ask a stranger for directions, even when lost...

So I suggest that from now on we apply some formulas of the Aladdin Effect and proceed to break the cultural and psychological chains that prevent us from obtaining what we rationally want. Let's start, then, by writing a list of wishes or purposes that we consider achievable, classifying them as immediate, short, medium and long term. Let's write them down on paper or on the computer.

Let us dedicate ourselves now to meditating on the immediate purposes and temporarily shelve the others. Let's close our eyes and imagine the steps prior to the materialization of our fantasy, detail by detail.

If it is a question, for example, of signing a contract, let us mentally reproduce all the actions that we will take that day from the moment we get up, when we get dressed, our transfer to the signing site, the characters that will intervene in the act, the arguments that we will present to convincing our client and, finally, the long-awaited closing moment. If our proposal is reasonable, we will see how, amazingly, the facts that we vehemently imagine, are reproduced in reality.

To the extent that our desires crystallize, we will acquire more and more confidence to undertake new and greater adventures. We know that in life everything has its moment but it is good to recognize in time if we have been trapped in our dreams or in our fears and if we should go out and face success.

That is why, inspired by Aladdin, I send you a final piece of advice: “Ask, ask, ask and ask until your dreams come true…”

by Alfredo Gonzalez Amare – Lawyer, economist and business broker.


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