A Person of interest

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

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 These famous words should be set in stone. They should be placed on every nightstand, desk, and front door in America. Dale Carnegie said these profound words in a book published almost eight decades ago- How to Win Friends & Influence People. They are even truer today.

Every act since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something. Did you ever think about that? Even those that give to charities or volunteer at shelters are getting a feeling of importance or goodwill. When I wake up in the morning I am full of selfish ambition: What do I want to do? What do I want to accomplish? What can I do to help someone else I meet today? Wait a minute. That last one doesn’t sound as familiar as the first two. It’s not. It stands out because it goes directly against all we are programmed to be as human beings. Certainly, it separates us from animals.

You may be thinking, “Enough of the “Golden Rule” talk Drew. We all know it and few of us do it. How does it help me?” I would agree. This is about you. See I have stumbled through this life just as selfish as the next guy. At the end of a long day of work I want to do something for me. I think, “I can’t wait to go out with friends. It will be so much fun, I will feel better, and I won’t be thinking about work.” Do you ever find that the event itself falls short of expectations? In other words, you’re not as satisfied or happy as you thought you would be if you did so-and-so. Here is my point. I find it’s hard to make myself happy. As two sides of the same coin- I find it’s EASY to make someone else happy. Let me illustrate.

One of my jobs is serving at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. I had a young couple come in for lunch the other day. As they were ordering, the husband casually asked the wife what was for dinner. She said they were having salmon; he ordered pizza and on the meal went. A week or so later, the same couple came in and sat in my section again by chance. When I walked up to them, I welcomed them back saying, “Great to see you again! I remember you had me hungry last week. How was the salmon dinner?” They were confused for a second until the wife realized what I was talking about. Her face lit up as she told me the marinade she had used, how she had cooked it, and even the side dishes prepared for her “specialty.” They both could not believe I remembered and left me a very generous tip. The two have requested to be served by me ever since.

That story is simple but there are hundreds of similar ones I could share from my own life experience, let alone others. The point of it is not the reward of a tip or a loyal customer. The point is happiness. I find it much easier to make other people happy with a kind word or gesture. I also believe this happiness is just as real as anything I could do for myself. Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. Sometimes, for you to have a better day, try to brighten another persons. Be genuine. Be interested. Try to see the world from their point of view as well as your own. Again, this does NOT come naturally. I have to work daily to develop it similarly to a muscle. It has incredible rewards though.

I will end this train of thought with another Carnegie quote, “The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.” Would you like an advantage in your life? I would. Practice this perspective shift on the people you meet tomorrow. Think of relationships in your life where you might not of thought about where the other person is coming from. Perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. It will all come back to help YOU one way or another. I promise. This is education of a different kind. “Most people go through college and learn to read Virgil and master the mysteries of calculus without ever discovering how their own minds function.” What we can learn from others will teach us a lot about ourselves.

A new year, A new you

ImageThere’s something about turning the calendar that inspires change. If you’re like me you want change in your life NOW and have felt that way for a while. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee just over a year ago and decided my first change was going to be a move. As the 23rd winter of my life approached, I abruptly packed up and moved to South Florida. The last year has been a search for the right outlet to plug my talents and resources into. Through it I’ve learned a couple things about myself.

The first thing I’ve learned is that wherever I work, I have the ability and drive to become the best employee at the business. The second thing is that I’m not a very good employee. These are not as different as they may seem. On the one side, there is the Drew that wants to learn all the ins and outs of the business to become as effective as possible. On the other side, once learned, the same Drew seeks to reveal inefficiencies in the business and explore betters ways to do things. Independent and entrepreneurial Drew has the same problems from a different perspective. I constantly look to better myself and improve both my knowledge base and habits in my personal life. I have a hunger to apply myself in all areas. This becomes a problem when I look for a direction or project to put those talents into action. I am simply a different breed of most people. I will never settle for mediocrity. I will always want to set a new standard once the old one is accomplished.

This leads me to today. I’m looking to develop a “Mastermind” group of friends who are also driven and passionate go-getters. Without any real direction to take real steps, I’ve begun to document where I’m at TODAY. It’s simply a tool of measurement and of expression and, with repetition, my hope is that it will convert to realities.

To master my new year, my goal is to become Master of my day. Does anyone out there feel me?