Mimicry is the progenitor of bias.
The really important stuff we have to imagine on our own.
Of course that takes practice and practice and more practice.
And it must be done when no one else is around.
He appears from the darkness in silence; He may have been there for hours.
Like the minute hand on my Omega, I failed to notice him at first.
I speak; he glares.
The tattered apparition holds his gaze.
“May I pass please?” I attempt to move around him. “I beg of you please, may I pass?”
He remains silent. His eyes hold mine. What are they telling me? He’s wearing a badly soiled, well-tailored, senatorially pinstriped suit, crafted apparently for a taller man in a different time, most certainly a better defined neighborhood. His attire assumes a sadness; a life of poverty? Perhaps a recently downgraded lifestyle forced upon him by difficult times?
I step to my right – he steps to his left.
“Please” I implored, “My lunch hour is over. I need to get back to my desk.” Neither a minute flick of lash nor hint of furrowed brow.
I breathe deeply and attempt to relax the imagined lines in my forehead. He remains implacable; an immovable stoic with an unknown plan. What does he have on his mind. His left hand is hidden in the left trouser pocket where gentlemen account for their coins. Is he holding a weapon? A switch-blade?
I move to the left – he to the right.
“Are you hungry? There is a warm dinner roll in my doggie bag. I had one of these for lunch; delicious. I think you’ll enjoy it.”
I raised the offering; no response.
I deke to the right and quickly left. Had I been wearing a weathered, fifty year-old, hand tailored, poorly fitting suit I might have thought for a moment that I was dancing at a street corner, practicing moves before a mirror.
Mulling momentarily: “How much to cross the street?”
“Fifty Cents”: I offer a dollar; his left hand withdraws from the left trouser pocket and places two quarters into my open palm.
The disheveled entrepreneur steps to his left.
The light turns green.
As I cross the street, I scold myself. “I was the beggar; that man in the dirty ragged suit was a succesful businessman.”
Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes that make it useful,
Lao Tsu translation by Gia Fu Feng.
Each morning I greet the day by committing to living it.
Each morning I sit at my desk and repeat that commitment.
My commitment is not to the Doing but to my Being.
To say “That is all.” is often thought to mean “Not much.”
“Why is that?” I wonder as I open Outlook.
“Oliver was a thinker. He was a man of few biases. He was seldom tempted to prove anything to himself or others; his tool for learning was the tool of discovery. And, if he heard or read or even thought something that did not logically conclude from preceding statements his brain would stop dead in its tracks.
‘What?’ he’d say to himself, ‘that can’t be right’ and without even having to test the idea his brain would present an instant YouTube of information whizzing before his inner vision on mega-fast-forward and satisfied, he’d then move on to the next thing, unless of course his discovery was important enough to stop for a moment and commit to the three by five Wexford memo pad in his shirt pocket.
Oliver’s thinking skills appeared almost immediately; he spoke before he walked, began his career in sales and customer service in the Seventies and was a very fast learner. Today his listening and reasoning skills serve him well in his work; Oliver is a very successful Customer Service Representative. His careful attention to listening well and for asking the right discovery questions has provided him with a great income and an excellent reputation among his peers. But one day he was surprised with something for which he had no answer. He had listened carefully. He found an opening and asked a few YES questions and then made a suggestion to the client whose spontaneous reply was ‘Why?’.
Oliver squirmed and fidgeted, he hemmed and he hawed and as he struggled for control of his faculties he discovered that he was talking to himself.”
From Leadership: A Love Story. By Lee Broom.
Talking to ourselves can sometimes be an impediment to success; it can also be an excellent tool for success. But never should it be a part of our conversation with a prospect. And never, ever will a successful CSR ask a prospect or a client “Why” about anything.
The same heed must be taken when the person on the other end of the line asks “Why”. Oliver, realized later than he could have easily segued into responses explaining “How”, “What”, even “Who”, “Where” or “When”.
We like to think that today we are more sophisticated than the Olivers of decades past with our iPads and smart phones but the real tools are the ones we carry between our ears. We may have a slightly larger vocabulary to accommodate our electronic toys but the way we talk with others and the respect that is necessary for our daily transactions is as old as language itself.
Unless you’re going fishing and really do need a can of worms, Listen, Investigate and Learn.
ARPS: THE APPROVAL RATING POINT SYSTEM
We can stay sane simply by seeking approval. Approval, in varying degrees is ours for the asking. Let’s assume that the nod of approval is worth two points; a hug is twenty and a smile, two million.
We can offer approval; for that we get four million points which we must split with our approvees.
Who knows how the Approval Rating Point System (let’s call it ARPS) works but it does…up to a point. We aren’t aware of this system because it is done below the level of awareness. But however elusive the ARPS data is, we know when it’s no longer working; we know instantly when we think we are getting less than we are giving.
Where the confusion comes in is when we discover that we don’t know the difference between Approval and Love; we don’t realize that one is sought and the other is offered until someone points that out.
We don’t know until we are told that approval is conditional and Love is not.
We don’t know that approval is part of what makes all living things interact and that it can actually be measured to some degree in a laboratory environment while Love remains a Mystery.
We don’t know on our own that the key to unlocking this Mystery is the key of Willingness and Awareness.
And the we discover Love;
We Accept The Love and We Pass it On.
Some say Love is the function of the universe. Some say it is the job description for God. And some say “help me, I’m falling…”
No need to fall…
Accept the Love and pass it on.
Offer the best solution and write the order.