Life’s Big Ask

Perhaps you have a big ask to make of life. This may include your goals, desires, and intentions.

Now what does life indicate that it wants from you?

What is life’s big ask of you?

One of life’s big asks of me was:

I’m gonna inspire you with a bunch of cool ideas about personal growth. Publish them the same day I give them to you. Don’t delay or hesitate, or I’ll send these to someone else. Some ideas will feel edgy. Some will invite criticism. Publish them anyway. You get to publish what other people can’t or won’t.

Another big ask from life was:

Get into public speaking. That makes you nervous – good! Keep getting up on a stage till you’re comfortable with it. Keep reframing the experience till the fear is gone and enthusiasm remains.

Here was another one:

It’s time to start creating opportunities for the people in your community to connect with each other, especially in person. Invite these people to gather together and interact, both online and offline. They need to meet. Much good will come of that.

An offer has two sides. We tend to focus on the gimme gimme gimme side, asking life for what we want, such as by setting goals and holding intentions. That’s only half of an offer though, and it’s a pretty lame offer without the other half.

In exchange for all the goodness you want life to flow towards you, what are you offering?

This isn’t just about declaring what you’re willing to give. That will likely lead to a childlike version of offer, like: Mommy, if you give me an extra cookie, I swear I’ll be really good for the whole rest of the day – the whole week actually! While your Mom might find that offer adorable (or annoying), it’s probably not particularly motivating for her. She may consider that if she gives you the cookie, it will just make you hyper.

To make a good offer to life, you have to make an effort to understand what life wants, first in general and then specifically from you.

You could say this requires some guesswork, but I think you can do better than random guessing with some basic observation. What does life seem to be doing lately? What has it been up to for the last few billion years? What can you observe about its behavior? And what potential motivations can you infer from that? Can you notice what life is doing and help it do more of that in some way?

I see that life likes variety. It likes to explore. It likes to experiment. It’s always evolving and doesn’t stand still. It likes to combine. It keeps spawning new creations that never existed before. It keeps expressing itself in many different ways.

Life is always growing – so much growth everywhere you look.

Can I really know for sure what life wants? No, but I can make an effort to understand what its motives might be. I can listen. I can observe. I can think about how to align my own tiny life with what I perceive to be a larger purpose. I can open my eyes and pay attention.

Once I have a sense of what life wants in general, it helps me think about how I could serve that purpose in some small way. This helps me listen to what life may be asking of me. This partly feels like logic but with intuition and imagination filling in the blanks. My versions of life’s big asks are specific to my own journey, but they also consider what life would probably like to see from anyone: expansion, expression, variety, exploration, experimentation, connection, etc.

I can also get a sense of what’s probably less important to life. I figure life doesn’t care very much about money since most lifeforms don’t use it. Hence it would seem misplaced for life to give me a big ask related to money.

The three big asks I shared above all turned out very well. They brought lots of wonderful flow into my life, and they’re all ongoing. Even if it’s only a mental framing and there’s no external truth to this, it’s still a good and useful framing. It makes me feel like I deserve more abundance and assistance because I’m serving life itself in some fashion, and so I feel more open to receiving help and less blocked. It feels more motivating to go to work when I sense that I’m acting in service to life instead of just trying to meet my own needs or achieve my own goals. This framing makes me feel happier and more secure too, as if something much greater than me always has my back.

So I share this because it’s a practical tool that works. This framing adds a wonderful layer of meaning to daily activities.

Try it for yourself. Make your own observations about what life seems to be doing on this planet. Generalize those observations. Then consider how you could “get with the program” and help life do whatever it seems to want to do here. Define a big ask from life to you. Go with what feels inspired, energizing, or expansive. Invite the ideas to come through without trying to mentally force them. Then see if you want to accept the invitation. It’s a fun ride if you do.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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