Raise your hand even if you don’t know the answer

It sounds ultra counter intuitive but trust me, it will change everything.

Remember in school when you were sitting at your desk, more often than not at the back of the class, the professor asks a question and then a deep, awkward silence covers the whole class? That was your moment to shine.

Remember when you went out last time with your friends, laughing, having a good time and then you see her - the most gorgeous smile you have ever seen, beautiful, long, black, curly hair? That was the moment when you should’ve walked over to her.

At work during meetings, discussing how to respond to market challenges, how to become more agile, improve the organisations’ adaptability to constantly changing market conditions :)? The CEO asks a question and then everyone starts looking left & right thinking/hoping that the person next to him/her has something interesting to say? That was the moment when you should have said something.

Life is a sequence of events that require us to take immediate action. If we miss that very small window of opportunity we will find ourselves later chasing it and there is no guarantee that we will ever get it back. Overthinking things is why 99% of people end up battling for scrapes, it’s why that hot girl is probably single, is why some of the worst ideas end up on the CEOs table and why you didn’t stand out in school.

“It’s lonely at the top. 99% of people are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most competitive.” — Tim Ferris

I am not saying that you should, immediately after reading this article, start saying dumb things or doing crazy shit. What I am trying to say is that you need to seize the moment, stand out when others won’t. Raising your hand will give others a chance to hear what you have to say. Even if you you don’t know the answer, speaking your mind shows that you are opinionated, that you believe in something, that you are not afraid to take action, that you, ultimately, have something to say!

Don’t worry what will happen if you get rejected — i.e. there is a very high probability that the hot girl at the bar will say no. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be “yes” every single time, it only has to be “yes” once, right? The same applies with the CEO — you might be wrong and what you have to say he probably doesn’t want to listen. But so what? Who cares? It might just as well happen that somebody in that meeting room wants to listen to what you have to say and next time you find yourselves talking to the boss, he might just listen to what you both have to say.

If you raise your hand you create an opportunity for yourself. What happens afterwards has a 50–50 chance of going good or bad. Don’t overthink it and don’t over-engineer it. Play your card and don’t take it personally if it doesn’t play out the way you wanted it to.

“Resilience is the underlying trait of successful people.” — uknown author

The sooner you learn this the better. Imagine where you could’ve been now had you raised your hand for the last 5–10–20 years of your life in situations where you felt completely outside of your comfort zone. Think how many moments of opportunity you could’ve created for yourself. There will have been, guaranteed, disappointments, moments of disillusion or self -doubt. But if you stick to the process, if you just keep going, there will be so many other moments when you’ll feel like you’ve conquered the world.

Trust the process, trust yourself, raise your hand and say something. Anything. Anything is better than just keeping your mouth shut.