A former prisoner reveals the single key behavior that determines the quality of your life. 

There's a man named Fernando Flores who was the Finance Minister of Chile. He became a political prisoner when a coup overthrew his government. After 2 years in jail, he was released and came to America. He then began teaching businesses about how to become more effective by clarifying their communication. He developed what he called Language Action Theory and businesses would pay him as much as a million dollars to learn from him.

There's plenty of depth to Language Action Theory, but I'm going to give you a bare-bones description that can help you rapidly improve any area of your life.

You can only say one of 4 things when you speak:

  • You can make an Assertion: a statement based on external facts. ​"That's a beautiful chair."
  • You can make a Declaration: a statement based on your authority. "I declare today a holiday."
  • You can make a Request: that means asking for some kind of action. "Will you give me a massage now?"
  • You can make a Promise: that means agreeing to fulfill a request. "Yes, I'll give you a massage now."

You can instantly see that the first two are what most arguments are based on: "You spelled the milk!" "You're wrong, you did it!" "No, you're wrong!" You can spend weeks making all sorts of statements back and forth like that without getting anywhere. You'll be likely to be worse off than you started. 

The last two, requests and promises, generate action and help guarantee it's the kind of action you desire. It's the process of making agreements. You don't need to know who is responsible for spelling the milk, but you do need to agree on who will clean it up."Will you get a towel and clean that up?" "Sure!" "Thanks!" No fuss, no mess, no bickering. You can just get on with your life.

Because of this simple linguistic distinction, we can make the declaration that the quality of any area of your life will be dictated by the number and quality of the requests you make in that area of your life.​ Meaning, there are 3 things that dramatically impact the quality of any area of you life...

  1. The number of requests you make.
  2. The quality of the requests you make.
  3. The people of whom you make your request​s.

Let's go through a few simple examples...​

  • Dating. ​1. If you don't ask anyone out on a date, you likely won't go on any. (Particularly if you date woman.) 2. If you ask them out in a rude or awkward way, you'll be likely to be rejected. 3. If you only ask out people you feel safe with but aren't that attracted to, you'll miss out on going out with the people who really excite you.
  • Work. ​1. If you don't ask for a raise or promotion, you'll be unlikely to get one. 2. If you don't ask for the amount you want, you'll be unlikely to get it. 3. If you only talk about it with people who aren't in a position to get you the raise, you'll be unlikely to get it. 
  • Sex. ​1. If you don't ask for what you want in the bedroom, you'll be unlikely to get it. 2. If you're not specific, you may be disappointed by what you get. 3. If you only talk about it with your friends, and not with the person you're sleeping with... you're disappointment is likely to continue.

Many people's problems boil down to the fact that they don't make requests, don't ask the right way, or don't ask the right people. It's that simple.

Obviously, beginning to ask for what you want can bring up lots of insecurities. It can bring up issues of self-worth. It can bring up beliefs, like "I shouldn't have to ask!" Just because it's simple doesn't mean it's not complex, too. I could lead a week-long workshop just on making requests effectively. 

However, you'll be surprised by how as you begin to notice and make use of the simple ideas I've covered in this article, you'll find yourself getting much more of what you want in your life. If you want to change your life, now you've got a simple tool to do just that!


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