Category Archives: Sharing

How To Create A Huge Following Of Admirers

Be Excellent, Be Gone

The other day I was having this conversation with a neighbor of mine. This guy is pretty old, and was talking about well his kids were doing. He had three sons, and they all went to university, got decent jobs, and are now married with kids of their own. The guy seemed to be bragging about his kids, but I could detect a little bit of sadness. The guy’s wife died several years ago, and he lives alone. Hence his frequent chats with me and all the other neighbors. The guy is lonely. But he somehow knows when to cut a conversation short; he seems to have a sixth sense of doing this just before he starts to wear out his welcome.

But not a bad kind of lonely, like some old people. I had this neighbor once that was always eager to talk with you, but she gave off this really strong vibe of desperation. As soon as this lady started talking to, you had to figure out a way to make an escape. If it were up to her, she would talk to you for hours on end. Sometime she would knock on my door with a really weak excuse, when it was obvious that she was looking for somebody to talk to.

Reminds me of a story that people tell sometimes about Milton Erickson, who was a world famous hypnotherapist back in the fifties and sixties. There was a woman, in her sixties, who was old and lonely like the two people mentioned above. She went to Dr. Erickson for help, and he gave her some advice. It was a variation of the old “if you want to make a friend, be a friend,” advice.

Since was particularly fond of a type of flower, African Violets, and grew quite a bit of them, he had a pretty interesting idea. Her assignment was to read the Sunday newspapers, both the obituaries, and the announcements. If somebody that lived in her neighborhood passed away, she was to bring them a bouquet of African Violets as a condolence. She wasn’t supposed to hang around very long, or try to make friends. Just show up, give her condolence, offer the flowers, and leave.

Likewise, if she saw a good piece of news in the announcements, such as a wedding, or a graduation, or a new baby, she was to put together a bouquet, and bring it over as a gift of congratulations. Again, the assignment wasn’t the same. Show up, give her congratulations and the flowers, and split.

She was to do this every week, at least once. Keep in mind this was back in the fifties, when it wasn’t uncommon for neighbors to do this kind of thing. If you tried this today, somebody might call the cops or something, depending on the neighborhood.

At first she was incredibly nervous and worried that she would be rejected. She was afraid that people wouldn’t want her, or her gift. So the first couple of times it was very hard. But once she got over her nervousness, and realized that most people are generally very friendly, and will happily accept well wishes from strangers, so long as they don’t have any ulterior motives.

Pretty soon she was doing three, four, even five trips every weekend. As the weeks and months went by, she found her self very busy with her little operation that was actually getting quite big. It didn’t take her very long for her loneliness to disappear as she learned one of life’s most valuable lessons.

The best way to help yourself is to help others first.

Of course had Dr. Erickson told her this as some vague platitude, she would have agreed, and not changed much. But he broke it down for her into a simple task, so that she would discover this lesson for herself.

And years later, when she died, thousands of people crowed at her memorial service, and she got quite a write up in several newspapers:

African Violet Queen Mourned By Thousands

Not bad for a lonely old lady. Just goes to show what a simple effort to step outside of your comfort zone just a little bit can do. To see what you can offer to others.

It’s important to remember that she never hung around after she gave her bouquet of flowers, expecting immediate thanks or gratification. Erickson was explicit on this. Let the reciprocity slowly build throw the strange effects of karma.

For some reason, it reminds me of a movie called “The Tao Of Steve.” A movie that is particularly popular among those that would like to me master seducers of women. It was about this guy that was poor, overweight, and not all that attractive. But he was wildly successful with women. His motto was simple.

Be excellent, be gone.

Meaning never hang around waiting for people to say “thanks,” or tell you what a nice person you are. Do good things for others simply for the feeling you get for doing them. Then get the hell out of Dodge. If you are patient, your rewards will come. With much more magnitude and much more significance that you could ever imagine.

Cultivate and Express Creativity

I bumped into a friend of mine the other day a coffee shop downtown. It’s one of those laid back independent coffee shops that takes pride in their individuality. They have several nights of various forms of “community entertainment.” Usually some kind of musical performance by budding artists. It’s always interesting to go there, and see people who can really put themselves out there. Although there never really is a lot of people, I always admire the people who come and give their all for the few fans that do turn out.

My friend was telling me about her roommate. She had been working at a design company for the last several years. She’d started as an intern, and worked her way up to a junior designer position. She was kind of worried because her company, which was a small independent one, not unlike the coffee shop, was going to be bought out by a national chain. Now I’m not too aware of the goings on in the design business, so I didn’t want to appear foolish by asking my friend a bunch of naïve sounding questions.

I asked her why she got into the business in the first place, and she said that she had always liked to be creative. When asked if she’d still be able to express her creativity once the new company took over, she said that it was likely that she would. She described how important it was for her to express her creativity.

She went on to describe how creativity is one of the greatest achievements of humankind. When people lose their creativity, and begin to go through life doing the same thing day after day, they can become depressed. The secret is to find ways to express yourself in ways that honor your creative self. Find ways to think in new directions that can help you to stay energized as you move through an otherwise normal life. She told me how important it is to spend a few minutes each day doing something that can exercise your mind, even for only a few minutes. That is the secret to happiness. Exercising your mind in those ways that you know are right for you.

So we both decided that her roommate would likely keep her job, given her track record at the design company. And even then, we weren’t sure what was going to happen, as the impending buyout was nothing more than a rumor at that point. Another thing we decided was that living your life based on rumors and imaginations about the future never really got anybody anyplace.

And the particular band, actually it was two guys with acoustic guitars, was pretty good. They sang a few old covers and a couple of original songs. I think it’s great that there are still people that can create new things, and then go and belt them out in public for all to enjoy.


Share the Communicating Power of Experience

I have a friend that is several years older than me. I like to hang out with him, if only to listen to his stories. He is a great story teller. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting somebody, so that when you listen to this person, you can just sit there for hours and hours listening to this persons go on and on about this and that. Most of the stories this guy tells are from his own experience. But other ones are from other people that he himself has heard stories from. Because he has lived such a long a full life, he never runs out of stuff to say.

Many times he’ll be talking about the war he was in. He was drafted, and once he realized what was going to happen to him, he decided that he was going to make the best of things. So he decided that being a communications officer was his best bet. He didn’t think being a medic was such a great idea, as he said medics have to walk around with a target painted on their back. He said a communications officer was best, because communication is important. And if you are carrying around with you one of the best resources, you are treated with a great deal of respect.

I can remember a class I took once in communications, just for fun. It wasn’t a public communications, which is public speaking. I hadn’t yet learned how easy it was to be comfortable while speaking to a large group of people. I was still in my beginning stages of learning how to communicate well on a one to one basis. Those of you who have been keeping up and like to read my blog on a regular basis will know what I’m talking about. Developing skills in communicating is one of the best skills you can develop. Being able to communicate congruently with power and confidence can be one of the most important things that you can learn in life. The class was a real eye opener for me. I learned about different communication styles that people have, different media through which you can communicate. And most important of all, the simple truth that you can’t not communicate. So it pays to be aware of the message that you are sending. Regardless if you know it or not, people are receiving you, loud and clear.

One of the most interesting things I learned from him was how to throw a grenade. It’s not like in the movies, where you can just chuck it and duck behind a bush or something. Because the pieces that come off it when it explodes go much further than you can throw it. So you need to make sure to stay out of the way when whatever you put out comes back. Whenever you decide to throw out something harmful, you’d better watch out, because it usually comes back a lot stronger than you threw it. It pays to be careful. Of course, my friend is wise enough to only tell stories that took place during basic training, where nobody died. War itself is a horrible thing, and should be talked about in polite, social conversation, when absolutely necessary.

I strongly recommend becoming friends with somebody that has a lot of experience. Not only because it’s fun to share your experience with others, it’s also just as fun to hear them as well. And who could disagree that we could always use more sharing in this world?


Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

I was watching that new movie recently, about that guy that goes on the adventure, and all the cool stuff happens to him. I forgot the name of the movie, and I’m terrible with names of actors so that’s pretty much the best I can do. There was part where he met a guy with a bunch of tattoos, and rode on a boat for a while. It was pretty interesting movie, and told an interesting metaphor about life, which I think can be valuable to anyone, despite where you are now.

I think he might have been the same guy that has been in a few other movies, and I think I’ve probably seen most of them. But as I write this, they are all kind of a blur, because one thing that I really enjoy is watching movies. I usually see one or even two movies a weekend, if there are enough new ones coming out. I really like to watch how the stories are structured, and  how the characters work together, and how they make the plot unfold completely spontaneous like they do. It’s really an amazing invention.

Makes me kind of wonder about who thinks up stuff like that. I mean one day, they had a bunch of pictures, and they were all looking at them, and then some guy came along and decided not only to make them sort of transparent, so you could shine light through them, but to make a bunch of transparent ones sort of similar, so that when you shone light through them and moved the pictures across the light really quickly, the light would shine on the wall and look real. And they just keep getting better and better. And the really fascinating thing is that despite all the advances in computer graphics and cameras and such, the basic concept is the same as it was when they first invented it.

And when I see a really good movie, I think to myself that I really want to share this. I really want to tell other people about this. Like when you see something that you really like and you can’t wait to tell other people about this. I think it is really a measure of how advanced humans are that we can share things with other people.

It kind of makes me wonder what movies will be like in a hundred years or so. Will they be the same or will they use the same basic technology they use today? Whatever they do, I’m sure it will be inside of a big theater. Because there is nothing cooler than sitting back in a dark theater with a huge bucket of popcorn and relaxing as you watch this story play out in front of you.

And that one movie was I think written by the same guy that wrote another movie that had the same kind of story. And there was something in there about a box of chocolates. Box of chocolates. Why does that make me feel like I need to go out and buy something? Am I missing something here? Or did I just forget. Oh well. Off to the movies I go.