I remember saying to myself: my money is not good enough for you? and wept.
I had no idea how I "accomplished" that... in 20/20 hindsight it is still a little spotty.
What wasn't clear to me, never even occurred to me, how my attitude effected the service provider. My "To what degree you think of yourself:" starting point measure was, at the time, 70%. From my behavior I would have guessed it was higher.
Mainly I overrode what they said. I argued, I knew better, I acted with contempt...
What I didn't know then is that being a service provider needs to be a win, or no service.
A customer who is not happy is a drag on an provider, and not worth the little (or even a lot of) money they pay.
I was that kind of customer...
By 1987 I started to see more of the invisible dynamic that was running my life, that kept me an angry victim, that made me feel entitled, etc.
With that my vibration rose, even without getting fully conscious and aware of how I used to be, my attitude changed, and life got better for me. Because no man is an island, and I did need help.
One of the most important criteria, it seems, is whether the provider is allowed to make a difference or not.
One of my measurements in the Starting Point Measurements 1 is your response, your attitude regarding feedback and instruction. I used to answer that with the category from a book I read: "smart, foolish, evil" but I abandoned that categorization: I didn't like what I was getting.
I became more interested in what someone does when they don't like the instruction or the feedback. A lot of people, after the initial emotional state, come back and do what they are asked to do...
If I can tell them: read this book and without justification, without explanation, they go and read it. They may feel reluctant, resistant, angry, but because I asked them they say: OK and do it.
In 1987, green and still with a huge attitude, I signed up a year long training program: Team, Management, Leadership. Why? I didn't have any reason, I just liked to get trained.
Four of the five weekends of the of the course were in California. I remember sitting at the airports by myself: I was a lone ranger... unaware that my loneliness was a result of my own attitude... 1
One of the assignments from the program was to read the Science Fiction by Colin Wilson: The Mind Parasite.
I bought the book, it was maybe five bucks. And it took me a whole year to read it. I could get through 2-3 pages, and that was that. It was the hardest book I had read thus far. 10-15 new words on every page... It took me 20-30 minutes to get through 2-3 pages. But at some point efforting was replaced by genuine wonder. It was still work, but now it was discovery.
I found out that not many of the people in the program read it. But it counted for 4-5 years of instruction: learning something from fiction, from immersing in fiction, is incredibly effective.
Roy Williams says in today's Monday Morning Memo, quoting
"Fiction is usually seen as escapist entertainment…But it's hard to reconcile the escapist theory of fiction with the deep patterns we find in the art of storytelling… Our various fictional worlds are– on the whole– horrorscapes. Fiction may temporarily free us from our troubles, but it does so by ensnaring us in new sets of troubles– in imaginary worlds of struggle and stress and mortal woe… Fiction also seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard."
– Jonathan Gottschall
Today's whole memo is to illustrate this idea... that story is real, immersive, and instructive.
I have learned a lot more from fiction than from training, from non-fiction, from coaching. And the cost of it was, of course, a lot lower.
On the other hand, I probably would not have learned that much from novels and maybe even movies had I not also learned distinctions from the more expensive, brainy activities of the other.
I have The Mind Parasites in the members area, and according to my statistics, my people haven't been reading it.
Back in 1987, my accurate vocabulary measure in English was 700. Today it is 3500... With an accurate 700 vocabulary it was a difficult read. It is harder to read than most non-fiction, but because of the story, it is a lot more effective.
I am going to make a new rule: I won't take on any new client that doesn't, at least, attempt to read the book.
You don't have to be a genius to become a client, but if you don't listen... if you don't do what I ask you to do, then I won't take you, or cancel your agreement with me...
After all if I hate my life because of you... why would I keep you around.
Just like those service providers back in 1987...
- That became conscious for me only some 20 years later, when I created a collage to deal with this seeming reality: I am alone. I wrote about it, I think, in another post. The top picture. (the bear on one side, on the top of a tree, and the multitude of penguins, and people, on the other side) is the collage that allowed me to see. And for the first time I managed to take responsibility for my reality. I am alone by choice. Duh.