Here’s an exercise that will really teach you a lot about yourself, get one dollar from 3 random strangers. No explanation allowed, just ask, and accept if given. When given this exercise myself, I quickly learned that for almost every person I approached, I had a story. I’m probably bothering this person. They don’t want to hear from me. They look friendly, they look bored, ooh they look like they want to help somebody. It all went through my head before I even approached anyone.
I contend that a lot of us do this in other places too. We already make decisions about how people will react to things we say or do, before we even say or do these things. Not only does this behavior keep communication lines closed when opening them would be highly beneficial, but it can often create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps nothing illustrates this faster than the dollar example, if you walk up to someone sure that they will NOT give you a dollar, then do you even need to ask? What if you could walk up to them sure that they would give you a dollar, what would be possible then?
How much of it is story? Learn to be aware of this and watch how your life changes.