I couldn’t believe what I was reading…
While strolling my local Borders bookstore recently, I flipped through a copy of Jim Wallis’ book:
The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America
I’m not going to link to the book… because I’m not recommending you buy it.
Now don’t tune me out! This is not a rant about religion or politics (we can have that discussion, or a series of discussions, some other time).
Instead, it’s about belief.
In his book, Wallis made the point that in the United States, if you work hard, you shouldn’t be poor. He then went on to champion certain political policies to address the problem.
At some level, we can all agree with his comment. I mean, who is really “for” poverty, anyway?
No sane person likes to see other people suffer.
The problem is this…
There’s an unstated assumption behind Wallis’ statement:
Someone else is to blame for my problems. I am a victim. I am not responsible for my place in life.
Do the above statements describe you and your belief? If they do, I sense danger! And you should too.
If you’re unhappy with your circumstances, look in the mirror and blame the person you see first. 🙂
Others may have contributed to your problems, but you are the driver of your life.
BUT THERE’S GOOD NEWS TOO!
You also have the power to change! No one cares about your life more than you do. You can bring about the results you desire, if your belief is strong enough.
Those who tell you “it’s not your fault” are lying to you, and even worse, their ideas will keep you from making meaningful progress.
After all, if “it’s not my fault”, then I don’t have to change.
But if I take responsibility for my decisions and actions, there’s hope. And I’ll be in the best position to seek out help in overcoming my obstacles.
See, we all need help! “No man is an island”, sayeth the poet John Donne.
The question I have is: are you looking for help in solving specific problems, or are you looking for someone else to solve ALL of your problems?
If you choose the latter, it’s probably “safer”. And you’d be in good company. And you’d have someone else to blame if things don’t work out.
If you’re looking to target blame on someone, there are many options to choose from. Take your pick. Your friends, ex-wife, parents, employer, or even the government. You’ll always have an “out”.
ON THE OTHER HAND…
If you’re ready to stop being a “victim”, there are plenty of people who are willing to help you.
Look, I can’t change the world… but I can help and encourage a few people along the way.
If this post resonates with you, please leave a comment below and let me know. Or if it just makes you really mad, you can let me know that as well.
Just know that as my reader, I care about you and want you to achieve whatever you want in life.
As he says, many times we stumble when giving our “elevator speech”… a short summary of the work we do.
Bly – a master copywriter – suggests breaking it up into three parts:
1. Start with a question, one relevant to the person you are speaking with. Always start with “Do you know how…”
2. “What we do is…”
3. “So that they…”
If you do this, if the person is a good prospect, they will start asking questions and may become a new client.
Let’s analyze this in more detail.
The first part: I believe what is happening is simply “framing”: it’s shifting the focus onto your prospect and their hopes, dreams, and problems.
The second part: reminds them of a specific pain they have.
The third part: shows how you can fix that pain.
A colleague sent me a link to this Craigslist ad:
Job: Needing Russian speaking candidate for Insurance Agency on the Northside of Spokane. Seeking full-time qualified individual for data processing and customer service. The agency represents a Fortune 500 Mutual Insurance company. The candidate must have experience with working knowledge of Microsoft Office Applications and have excellent grammar, diction and communication skills in both English and Russian. Minimum of H.S. Diploma required (B.A. preferred) / Candidate will also need to obtain Property and Casualty Licenses. Competitive salary + benefits. Please contact [email address] or call [phone number].
* Location: North Spokane
* Compensation: $9 – $11 per hour + Health Benefits (Commission possilble for highly qualified applicant)
* OK for recruiters to contact this job poster.
* Phone calls about this job are ok.
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
Let’s see… they want a bilingual, college graduate with excellent communication skills, who will be soon obtaining insurance licenses, and they will pay no more than $11/hour? This is the environment in which many of us live, folks. If your skills are not appreciated in the work force, consider setting yourself up in your business, where you can make sure you are positioned properly.
On my recently trip to Chicago, I took along Robert Heinlein’s fiction book Revolt in 2100.
In between actually working, it’s nice to take a break and read some good writing not related to work.
Anyway, the book contained this little gem in the introduction by Henry Kuttner.
Robert A. Heinlein is probably the best story-teller in the science fiction field today. If I were backed into a corner and forced to tell why in one sentence, I’d say “Heinlein’s got a sense of proportion.” Well, how does one get a sense of proportion? By experience, I think. And there is only one kind of experience that counts as necessary to a competent writer: experience of mankind.
Literary and scientific techniques are very useful to a writer, but I don’t think the study of them is necessary. They are intellectual concepts. Man is also an emotional animal, and a good story must be about man –not man after a lobotomy, but about the irrational part of him as well as the rational. Sentimentality is no substitute; it degrades man instead of treating him with the respect that, God knows, he deserves. Unfortunately, too many science fiction writers might have been written by robots or spirits.
Now Heinlein does something that is vitally necessary to good writing: he perceives people. He knows how they feel. He has felt that way himself. He has even bridged the difficult gap of realizing that people feel much the same way everywhere, allowing for constitutional differences.
He has accepted membership in the human race.
I don’t think you can be a good writer unless you do that. I’m biased, I know; I like good writing, and I have a great deal of respect for it. Good writing is well proportioned. Basically, it treats of man in his environment, and both of these elements must have verisimilitude. That’s where Heinlein’s sense of proportion comes in. He’s eclectic. He follows the principles but not the rules. His stories have verisimilitude because they are about people, and he uses other materials only insofar as they affect those people. And here is the precise point where his sense of proportion appears. The story-elements he uses, technological, sociological, psychological, are chosen according to their natural relation to the center of interest: man. These elements are symbolic of man’s values. But it is man, realistically handled, who is the nucleus of each Heinlein story.