Free monthly success tips! Enter your email address!
Success Harmony Newsletter
"MORE PEOPLE FOR BIGGER GAMES"
At a recent
comedy show, I wondered why the MC introduced me the way he did. Most
MC's say something about how funny the next performer is, but he referred
to my looks and cultural background instead. Perfect introduction for
a speech, but it felt like an "oh-oh" as part of a "make
'em laugh" show. So I asked him about the introduction later on.
surprised me. He said, "I don't like to introduce people as funny.
If you weren't funny, you wouldn't be here. I like to look for something
unique in a person and that's how I introduce." So there it was.
Then he gave me some thoughts about the show, some things that worked
and some things he thought might improve it. He was willing to give the
latter only with a strong "I'm honest and most people don't like
honesty" disclaimer, and yet his feedback was nothing but insightful
and helpful. Why would we have issues with another person's honesty in
I like feedback
now but that wasn't always the case. As the textbook-case immigrant from
a communist country, we learned early on that if you want to get something
done, you don't rely on anybody but yourself. You need your car fixed?
Would you prefer to wait in a line-up of other goofballs waiting for three
months for a garage appointment, or would you rather learn a bit about
cars to do it yourself? Would you be OK with the government scrambling
your radio and TV signal from the free West, or might you devise a few
tricks to descramble the signal? Would you be at the mercy of the latest
Communist-devised fashion, or learn to sew a little yourself and avoid
the suffering? It went on and on. In the freedom of the new country, new
choices of ultra-specialized people were available to be hired at every
turn, but that meant being like a kid with 25 cents in a candy store where
even the smallest bite-size marshmallow costs a buck. Poor people learn
quickly that there aren't too many people specializing in helping them
out. If you want to climb up, you'd better build the ladder yourself if
you don't have the cash to buy it or the friends to borrow it.
More I-can-do-it-myself-thank-you-very-much attitude. The more that was
around, the harder it was to invite or even allow others to help. Even
feedback wasn't too welcome, as it meant that I was failing at doing it
I have learned that while the lone Marlboro man in the prairie may look
macho and cool, it isn't as much fun to do it all alone as it is to work
with others, especially with those much better skilled than I am. I have
heard it said that "first grade people hire first grade people, and
second grade people hire third grade people". When we don't have
enough strength of our own, we tend to see people who are more talented
than us as a threat. If someone has a better idea than we do, it must
be because we are not smart enough. We don't like that, so we try to prevent
this "oh, I ain't good enough" feeling by hanging out with people
who are less than our standards. Oh, if Joe didn't finish his high school
degree, maybe I don't have to feel badly that I didn't go to college.
After all, I'm further along than Joe. If my friends' lives are not going
far, maybe my fourteenth year as a Walmart janitor doesn't seem so bad.
At least I've GOT a job. And so it goes.
a huge shift that happens when we gain momentum in greater self-esteem.
I can't quite tell if it's plain laziness that kicks in at some point
when we realize it's just too darned hard to get everything done on our
own. When our first brilliant friend or colleague suggests a superb idea,
we take it, and save some time or money, now the thought process is different.
Instead of feeling badly that I am not as smart, I applaud the idea and
I acknowledge the friend. I gain an idea, the friend gains some extra
pride. Everyone gains in the moment and probably even more so in the long
term. My acknowledgement may get him to think of more ideas (funny how
we tend to get more inspired when people want us to do well, and less
inspired when people poo-poo on the latest flash of brilliance we got
in the shower that morning). Hmm. Chances are that some of the new ideas
might even come my way again. Maybe his ideas might spur some new ideas
in me. And, and, and All of a sudden, having access to brilliant
people opens up new doors and possibilities that we simply could not imagine
on our own.
is now different. What may have felt at one point as a nasty criticism
now becomes something to see as assistance. We can't possibly see ourselves
as objectively as someone watching our performance. When the person watching
cares about us and wants us to do well, their feedback may shave years
off trial and error. Whether such people are paid (advisors, colleagues,
etc.) or unpaid (friends, mentors, mothers and mothers-in-law), their
perspective and assistance helps us play a much bigger game than what
we can hope for on our own.
have the opportunity again (I reckon it may be sooner than you might think)
when someone's assistance may come up, try "thank you, I would appreciate
that greatly" rather than "buzz off, I am just fine moving this
200-ton boulder off my foot just fine". And when you have the opportunity
to hang out with someone much smarter, more fit, or better looking than
you, take the chance. You might be surprised to what further heights you
is a long lesson in humility."
James M. Barrie
"A successful marriage
isn't finding the right person - it's being the right person."
""You can accomplish
anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the
Henry S. Truman