Monday, April 17, 2017

Have You Ever Tried Flapping Your Wings?

Have You Ever Tried Flapping Your Wings?
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 17, 2017
(Anything in Blue is a link to a web site)

Are you familiar with the term “the butterfly effect?”  Andy Andrews has written a wonderful book on the subject, The Butterfly Effect. Technically it means, the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere (according to the Internet).  In English it means that a Butterfly, flapping its wings in New York City would cause the air to move around its body and then eventually create by a chain reaction causing heavy winds in California.

Therefore, when I ask the question “can you make a difference?, I am asking, is there one thing you could do that would or could create a chain reaction thus making a difference in someone’s life or it could even change the world?  If you want to see a visual demonstration of what Andy Andrews means, watch the videos where he talks about one action taken by Joshua Chamberlain whose actions during the American Civil War has had continuing ramifications through to today; it IS the Butterfly Effect in real life.  Andrews’ presentation is amazing and unforgettable; I sincerely hope you watch it here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (totally running time for all three is about 19 minutes but it will be 19 minutes you will NEVER forget).

I have been writing Nuggets for the Noggin for over 25 years but have only been posting them to the Internet on since 2008.  Whenever you write something that is original, you have no idea how it will be perceived or if it will be read at all.  Over these years, I have had very few responses, good or bad, still when I get the urge or inspiration, I continue to write and post the Nuggets.  Yes it would be nice if they were critiqued; not so much on the grammer or typos but rather on their content.  For example, I wrote a Nugget on the Heart By-Pass Surgery I had and several people wrote to me telling me that they read the Nugget and immediately took one of their relatives to the doctors.  Unbelievably they too had heart surgery to fix a problem that they did not know they had.  That to me was a sign that the Nuggets DID make a difference at least in a couple of people’s lives.

This past week I posted another Nugget regarding the sugar content in the foods we eat and drink.  Has anyone read it?  According to the counter embeded on the web page, about 30 people thus far have read it since it was posted.  Did they like it?  I have no idea; there were no comments.  Very few of the several thousand views to the site ever indicate their like or dislike at the bottom of the page by leaving messages.  You just don’t know and that is okay.  Yet, if just one person’s life is affected by something you and I write, you must admit that it would be a good day.  If more than one has been positively affected, that would be a great day! 

When you write and post Nuggets as I have been writing, or you post your comments on something someone had posted on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or one of the many sites where you can post and respond, you are quite possibly “flapping your wings.” You have no idea of the affect that “flapping” may have had all across America or even the world.  For example, imagine if just one person who in their 30s were to read the Nugget regarding high sugar content in our foods and drinks and then made the decision to reduce his or her sugar intake.  Then imagine that as a result of that decision, he or she DID NOT develop Diabetes in their lifetime.  That would be an example of making a difference in at least one person’s life and that difference would ultimately make a differenece in that person’s family lives as well.  Now imagine if TEN people made a conscious decision to reduce their sugar intake; or ONE HUNDRED people?  You can see where this is going?

What could you do today that if you did it, would make a positive difference in someone’s life or possibly a difference that could change the world like Joshua Chamberlain did?   Have you ever heard of Tammy Baruhovich?   She has been quietly making a difference on Facebook by posting her comments on her Facebook Page Positive News (check it out).  Tammy is “flapping” her wings and making a difference!  We can all complain about something and I can do it as well as anyone.  Complaining is easy but complaints rarely change another person’s opinion or beliefs.  Posting positive information such as the Nugget on sugar content is different – you are sharing information that can change attitudes or lives on a daily basis whether you realize you are doing it or not. I took Tammy’s lead and started flapping my wings by posting daily Mental Snacks on my Facebook page.  The posts contain excerpts from books I have read.  I hope the posts affect those who read them in a positive way and then they share them with their Facebook friends.

How can you flap your wings – today?
Or, better still…

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Would You Knowingly Feed This To Your Children

Would You Knowingly 
Feed This To Your Children

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 17, 2017

This Nugget is about ingestion of Sugar; it took me over 70 years to understand it.  Do not be misled by that statement because I did not study Sugar for all those years, I just ate my way into becoming a Diabetic instead.  Think about that for a moment.   The following is one definition of Sugar as found on the Internet:

Definition of sugar

1a :  a sweet crystallizable material that consists wholly or essentially of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative of other foods  b :  any of various water-soluble compounds that vary widely in sweetness, include the monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, and typically are optically active

Here is a link to an easily understand description of how sugars enter the body:

The following is a definition of converting grams into teaspoons from the Internet:  “This important bit of information is your key to converting grams into teaspoons. Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. To be precise, 4.2 grams equals a teaspoon, but the nutrition facts rounds this number up to four grams.”  Actually it rounds it DOWN to 4 grams, not up to 4 grams. 

What does this mean to someone like me a non-scientist and someone who has not done a lot of research on the subject.  I had some time to kill at a supermarket near the checkout counter.   There were several coolers near the counter containing all sorts of soft drinks.  I looked at the newest bottle of Coke with the Green label and the word “Life” on it suggesting that somehow this Coke might be better for you than the regular bottle of Coke.  The Life Coke listed 45 grams of sugar according to the label.  The “regular” bottle contained 65 grams of sugar.  The bottles were 20 ounce bottles and were meant or designed that one person would drink from the bottle as compared to a 2 liter bottle that typically is dispensed by the glass.  Here is a photo of the label:

Sugars, 65 Grams!  Using the definition from above, 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon, I did the math for you, 65 grams of sugars (plural) equates to 15.47 teaspoons of sugars.  I was shocked to discover these numbers because frankly, I grew up learning about ounces and gallons, not grams and liters.  Labels like this previously did not exist as I was growing up.  To me, 65 grams was no big deal primarily because I did not have a reference point for what a gram actually represented.  But when I saw the equivalence of 65 grams of sugar meant eating over 15 teaspoons of sugar, it sickened me.  I looked further.  3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon which most of us are even more familiar with.  Back to the math.  15.47 teaspoons of sugar is the same as eating 5.15 tablespoons of sugars.  Would you intentionally do that if you knew what you were about to do?

The question:  Would you knowingly feed 3 tablespoons of sugar to your children?

I am not picking on Coke products, I am trying to make a point.  I love Snicker Bars, who doesn’t. But how many sugars are there in a Snickers Bar?  Look for yourself:

May be difficult to read; it says 30 grams.  This label comes from a Snickers Bar that weighs 2 ounces or 58.7 grams (there is that word again).  Back to the math.  30 grams of sugars equals 7.14 teaspoons of sugar or 2.38 tablespoons of sugar.  Would you feed your children 2.3 tablespoons of sugar?

On behalf of the people my age who probably did not grow up learning about grams and liters, I wish these companies would speak in English or at least the English I can understand.  Would you drink a coke if it said this is equivalent to eating 5.14 tablespoons of sugar?  Or a Snickers Bar if you knew you would be eating  2.3 tablespoons of sugar.  I think not!

So why do all the nutritional labels use grams and liters?  Is it to intentionally make it impossible to understand the contents of the product?  Or is it just 2017 and while the world understands grams and liters, only the  younger American generation might, with the emphasis on the word might, understand the contents of the product.

Here is the solution!  Whenever you see any product that you are about to buy, look at the Nutritional Label and more specifically look at the sugars indicated and MULTIPLY THAT NUMBER BY 4 and then think of TEASPOONS OF RAW SUGAR.  Knowing that ingestion of a lot of sugar is probably not in your best interest, would you intentionally put that much raw sugar into your mouth?  Probably not, but in the case of the product you are considering purchasing, the raw sugars are disguised as good tasting Coke or a fabulous tasting Snickers Bar meaning the Nutritional Label is probably ignored as I did for years and years.

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor nor pretend to be one.  Before you make changes to your diet, check with a doctor who should know about these things.

Having said that, you do the math, especially when you consider your children – 4 grams of sugars EQUAL 1 teaspoon of sugars.  12 grams of sugars EQUALS 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Would you intentionally give your children that many teaspoons or that many tablespoons of raw sugar to eat.  If not, why would you give them products that do?  Asked he who is now a Diabetic and takes insulin daily.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Little End of the Horn

The Little End of the Horn

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 14, 2017

“A young man (or woman) starting out in life, anxious to succeed, must not say to himself, “I would like to succeed, but I do not believe I am really fitted for the part I have assumed. My profession or my vocation is so crowded, there are so many who cannot get a decent living in this field, so many people out of employment, that I believe I have made a mistake; but I will work away the best I can. Perhaps I will come out somewhere.” The young man (or woman) who talks so, thinks so, does so, will come out somewhere. It will be at the “little end of the horn,” out of pocket, out at the elbow, and out of a job.”

The above passage is from the Orison Swett Marden book, The Miracle of Right Thought, published in 1910. Fast forward to 2017.  I remember in recent years interviewing applicants looking to begin a career in real estate as a licensed sales agent; hundreds of them.  Most were very nice people who one could take an immediate liking to.  Where they people who already had the aptitude of becoming a successful real estate agent?  Possibly but probably not.  I heard so many of them say they wanted to be a real estate agent because:
 They liked people
  • They like selling
  • They like real estate; more specifically they liked looking at beautiful homes
  • They were always interested in real estate
  • They liked helping people

Of these and many more responses, the last was probably the best but still did not suggest to me that they would become a successful real estate sales agent.

Who came to apply with me?  People from all walks of life with varying levels of education, such as:
  • High School Graduates
  • Some College educations
  • Some with College Degrees
  • Some from Community Colleges
  • Some with Community College Degrees
  • Firemen
  • Police Officers
  • Former military members, one was even a retired General of the Army who failed miserably in real estate
  • Bar tenders
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Housewives
  • Single Women
  • Married Women
  • Single Men
  • Married Men
  • Applicants with no children
  • Applicants with children 

In other words, just about every type of person interviewed with me and wanted to become a real estate agent.  How can you tell who would make the best of the best in the real estate sales field?  What in each of these applicants triggered a belief that they among all the others would do well in the sales profession?

Of all the individuals listed, two stuck out with me – teachers and nurses.  Why?  For two reasons.  First they have dealt with people but more importantly they have already demonstrated an ability of paying attention to details where a mistake could actually cost someone their life.  You can’t get more attentive than that!  Why did the General fail so miserably?  Most of his military career he had people around him who did all the necessary “grunt work.”  He did not have this posse around him in real estate and he simply did not want to do or see the need to do all the “grunt work” necessary to be successful in real estate – sales did not just happen – you had to work to make them happen and he did not want to do the work necessary.

If you were to look specifically at real estate sales, The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) estimates that there are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. According to the 2012 Economic Census there are 86,004 real estate brokerage firms operating in the United States.  The “brokerage firms” number can be misleading because a license real estate broker could be just one individual (often referred to as a Mom & Pop brokerage) as compared to an office of licensed real estate agents working under one licensed broker. 

I know you cannot divide 2,000,000 active real estate agents by our 50 states but let’s do it just for the purpose of this Nugget.  That would mean there are 40,000 licensed agents in each of the 50 states.  Referring to what Marden wrote when he said “My profession or my vocation is so crowded, there are so many who cannot get a decent living in this field, so many people out of employment, that I believe I have made a mistake”, he was right IF the applicant did ONLY what everyone else was doing.  

If you have not heard of the 80/20 Rule, it is simple.  In the case of real estate agents, 20% of the agents are doing 80% of the sales.  That means of the 40,000 agents in your state (not an accurate number), 32,000 of them fall in to the category of not being able to make a decent living.  20%, or 8,000 do make a decent living.  The 80/20 Rule also would suggest that even within the 20% or 8,000 agents, the 80/20 Rule still applies meaning of the 8,000 agents, 20% or 1600 are making a really good living; and then, of the 1,600, 320 are making a FANTASTIC LIVING.  So what are the odds that you, when considering there are 40,000 other agents in your state, that YOU will become one of the 320 who are doing FANTASTICALLY WELL at making a decent living?  I would not want to bet on your chances. the list of people applying for a real estate sales position above.  My guess is that NONE of them ever took a course on ATTITUDE.  Few would have been trained on GOAL SETTING and in fact they would consider the word GOAL being classified as a “four letter word” since so many people shy away from it.  Most if any have never heard or been trained in establishing a LIFE MISSION STATEMENT.  If the studies you read are correct, less than 5% read more than one book A YEAR and it is doubtful if they intended to read any more than that.

Given that bleak outlook, I believe there is one characteristic that would suggest that an applicant might be one of the future 320 “fantastic successes” and that could be determined by asking them just two questions.  First, what was the last non-fiction book they VOLUNTARILY read and what did they learn from it?  Secondly, how many non-fiction books did they VOLUNTARILY read since they turned 18 years of age?  I only selected 18 because that would be the average age of your typical high school graduate.  I indicated non-fiction because these are the types of books you learn something from. Even those people who had already established a career or profession, rarely voluntarily read any books that would further those careers or professions.  Their answer to both of these questions would indicate if they were learning based individuals or not.

If you were hiring someone for a position, no matter what position that may be, why would you ever intentionally hire anyone who is NOT a learning based individual.  Learning based means, at least to me, someone who desires to continue their learning beyond what they would normally been required to learn  For example.  Most real estate agents take the courses required to become a licensed real estate agent then continue their education ONLY by taking the minimum required classes each year.  How many create a Self-Education Plan that includes courses or books on developing their Attitude, Sales Techniques, Relationships, Goal Setting, and identifying their Life’s Mission Statement/Goal?  I can guarantee you that those who do, will be in the 320 who create a fantastic life because of their real estate career.

What is a Life’s Mission Statement?  What will your life look like when it is finished?  What are you doing every day that when done would lead you to achieve what you want to achieve in your life?  Are you doing those things that matter?  Using myself as an example; my Life’s Mission Statement has always been, “To help people to do what they do to do it better!”  Writing this Nugget could have that affect therefore, yes, I am doing something that will eventually lead to achieving my Life’s Mission Statement.  How do you want your life to have mattered?

Wallace D. Wattles wrote in the early 1900s several books one of which is The Science of Success, The Secret to Getting What You Want.  It is a trilogy of three of his best writings.  The Science of Getting Rich.  The Science of Being Well.  The Science of Being Great.  Of these three, The Science of Being Well may be the most important because if you do not maintain your health, nothing else of importance really matters.  Wattles uses the phrase, “thinking in a certain way” throughout all of his writings.  By that he means you CAN achieve whatever you desire PROVIDED you THINK IN A CERTAIN WAY.  It is doubtful that the “certain way” will mysteriously just come to you – you have to learn it.  You learn it by reading and taking courses. 

Here is YOUR key to success.  Do not read just anything or take just any course just so you can say you read books or your take courses.  Read those books and take those courses that will help make you a better person and those that advance your ability to perform in the careers or professions YOU have decided to pursue.

Personally I can think of no better place to start than to read the books of Orison Swett Marden and Wallace D. Wattles.  Surprisingly they both wrote their books in the early 1900s and when you read them you will see as I saw that a lot of books written much, much later by some of the more prominent names you may be aware of contain the same or similar information of these two geniuses (my determination).  Just think about what Wallace wrote about.  If you truly want something, how are you going to get if you don’t “think in a certain way?”

Let’s look at real estate.  If you want to become a successful real estate agent, you MUST think AND act like a successful real estate agent.  If you want to eventually become financially independent, you MUST think AND act like a financially independent person would think and act.  Success and financial independence didn’t “just happen” for these folks, it was created by “thinking in a certain way” and that way was through self-education.  While a college degree is important and worthy of having, what you learn through self-education AFTER your formal education is what will make you great at what you do and keep you from wallowing in the “little end of the horn” of plenty.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

“I Coulda Been A Condender!”
Marlon Brando from the movie – On The Waterfront (July 28, 1954)

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 10, 2017

The title is one of the most famous movie quotations of all time from On The Waterfront and was said by actor Marlon Brando.  To most older folks the quote and explanation wouldn't even be necessary.  In today’s Star War’s world, I doubt most of the younger folks have ever seen On The Waterfront.  I believe that today’s movies rely more on full color, constant unbelievable graphics and images than they do on pure acting skills as in the past; but I digress.

Think about that quote for a moment.  What is wrong with it or how could it have been even better.  Is it something you would or should say?  Brando played the part of a boxer and his desire was to be the champion of his time.  So why did he stop at just becoming a “contender?”  Why didn’t he say “I coulda been a champion?”

Are you setting your sights too low.  In his book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, Gary Keller relates the story about the Hunting Wolves of all things.  From the book:

“Several years ago my son, John, and I were driving and listening to a book on tape.  In the story, a shepherd’s son has come of age and goes out to spend his first summer alone tending the sheep in the hills above the village.  One night, he awakens to the sound of a wolf howling nearby.  The night is black and he is seized by fear, but he dutifully grabs his rifle and races out into the darkness to protect his livestock.  Across the way he sees a wolf at the throat of one of the sheep.  As he puts his rifle to his shoulder and takes aim, he remembers the advice of his father:  ‘At night, it is very difficult to judge the distance to your target, and, more than likely, you’ll underestimate the distance and miss low.  To have a better chance of hitting the target, aim high.’  The shepherd’s son adjusts his aim, raising the sights ever so slightly, and hits the mark.”

In the movie, Brando was apparently satisfied at just becoming a contender for the championship and not the championship itself; his sights were set to low.

I can personally relate to this story on both levels, aiming high and aiming low.  When I entered the Coast Guard in 1965 I believe I was a good student and did not only what I was told to do (the military way), I did go the extra mile and read the material we were given; all of it.  What struck me was that the promotion program was laid out in great detail as to what was required to advance or be promoted to the next pay grade, it also showed you what to do from day one to be eligible for the next promotion.  I did not know in 1965 that I would decide to make the Coast Guard my career choice but I did know I wanted to make more money than the $78 a month they were going to pay me to do whatever it was that I was to do as a Seaman Apprentice or and E2 upon graduating from boot camp.  I became very focused.  My immediate obligation to the Coast Guard was for 4 years; that was the enlistment contract.  I immediately set my goal on becoming a Second Class Petty Officer  or an E5 by the time I finished my required 4 years.  Given the required length of time between pay grades I felt that was the best that I could have done in just four years. The best part?  I made it!  That alone should have been a lesson for me.

I could give you many stories in regards to my promotions between September 1965 and September 1985 when I eventually retired.  While interesting, at least to me, they would just clutter the message I hope to convey to everyone.  During my twenty year career I set self-imposed ceilings on my promotions.  First it was becoming an E5, or Second Class Petty Officer.  Then it was becoming and E7 or Chief Petty Officer.  But for some reason not an E8 Senior Chief Petty Officer or the ultimate enlisted pay grade E9 Master Chief Petty Officer.  I was satisfied at becoming just a “contender” or a Chief Petty Officer.

I wish I could tell you that someone within the Coast Guard had taught me a valuable lesson about setting goals or aiming high but that did not happen.  That was a lesson I learned on my own because not only was I promoted to Chief Petty Officer E7, I later was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer W-2 and later W3.  I had thought I reached as far I could with my educational background but there was one more promotion that I could at least apply for and that was what was referred to as becoming a Limited Duty Direct Lieutenant (O3) skipping over the ranks of Ensign (O3) and Lieutenant Junior Grade (O2).  Limited Duty simply meant that I would be assigned to duties requiring the rank of Lieutenant but strictly within my occupational specialty.  To my surprise, I was selected as Lieutenant and eventually retired as a Lieutenant.

I am not telling you this story to brag on my promotions within the Coast Guard; on the contrary.  I am telling you this because at various points during my career, I raised my sights just as the shepherd boy did with his rifle.  Yet the lesson I learned was that I did not set my sights high enough from the moment I made the decision to make the Coast Guard a career.  I had attended college but for only two years, I did not graduate.  To become a Coast Guard Officer, most people had to have a college degree to do so.  I didn’t, therefore making Lieutenant seemed out of the question.  But when the program that enabled me to at least apply for the Lieutenant program became available I did and was accepted.  I adjusted my “site” as the my career choices changed.

I have now retired not only from the Coast Guard but also from the real estate industry where I retired in 2012.  I was the Designated Broker and Team Leader (manager) during the last 12 years of my over 33 year real estate career.  I did what was necessary to become a licensed real estate agent in 1980 enabling me to sell real estate, primarily residential real estate.  I was shocked at what happened.  The first weekend of being licensed, I was put on the front desk, assigned the duty of answering phone calls to the office.  And then what?  I had no idea.  I had no training, I had no anticipation of what I was going to say.  I knew nothing about selling real estate.  It was like being a fireman with a hose but no water to extinguish the flames.  I struggled for two years with becoming a successful real estate salesman.  Two years!  I made very few sales during that time; certainly not enough to live on.

It was on a whim that I signed up to take a Mike Ferry real estate seminar.  Mike Ferry was obnoxious and full of himself.  I remember him saying that if you didn’t expect to do well in real estate sales, you might as well go down the hall and sit in on Mary Kay sales event being held there.  He said “I know what I’m doing; you don’t.  So listen to what I am telling you and you will do just great!”  What I learned during that presentation was this one lesson that is far more valuable than any “how to sell real estate tips.”  That lesson was:

If it is to be, it is up to me!  No one is going to do it for you!

That was the same lesson I unknowingly learned while in the Coast Guard.  No one had encouraged me to enjoy the promotions I did, I just researched what it would take to be promoted and then attacked it.  “If it was to be; it was up to me! No one was going to do it for me!”  The problem within the Coast Guard was that my aim was only on the NEXT promotion and NOT on the BIG PICTURE – my eventual retirement from the Coast Guard and at what pay grade level.  My focus was always on just the next one, and then the next one, and then the next one.  It was not on the end game or the BIG PICTURE.

I have been fortunate to have read some really great books, especially lately, the last of which “From Autopilot to Authentic” by Brett Blair.  Before that, Me We Be Do by Dr. Randall Bell.  The two are very much related.  I can relate to the story that Blair tells of his life.  In a phrase, been there; done that!”  In fact Blair’s story is what prompted me to write this Nugget while it was fresh in my mind.  My advice to everyone reading this is very simple:

  • Gary Keller – Aim High!  But first you have to have a target or goal to aim at; set goals with a plan to achieve them.
  • Randall Bell – become the best “me” you can become; then become the best friend you can become; then to “be” the best, you have to have clear written goals and manage your time; and then, follow your “do” or to-do lists to insure you do the things necessary to lead a happy and productive life
  • Brett Blair – Conduct an analysis of your life as IT IS NOW and then imagine the type of life you WANT IT TO BE relating to your Spiritual, Physical Health, Relationships, Emotional, Intellectual/Professional and Financial but they MUST BE BALANCE WITH EACH OTHER! 

All three of these men through their books are saying the same things but in different terms and they are all right on the money!

Here’s the deal.  If you want these things to occur in your life, you must: 
  • Be aware that if it is to be; it is up to me; no one is going to do it for you – create a plan, be prepared to reset your sights on a moment’s notice
  • Analyze your life as it is, picture the life you want it to become
  • Set written goals, know when it is time to adjust them “on the fly” or as you go
  • Aim High!  Aim higher than you might think reachable.  So what if you fall short, you probably still reached higher than you otherwise would have reached. 

Here is a question that everyone should ask and answer.

What will your life look like when it is over?

If you don’t have a plan, if you don’t create a road map, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.  To emphasize this point just read my favorite poem; it puts it all into perspective:


High in the Sierra Mountains lives an old man
Who from his hermitage looks down in pity
Upon other men of higher mental aspiration.

One day he rescued a little group of Swiss mountaineers
Lost in the mountains’ fastenesses
When told were they were they exclaimed in disbelief,
“But how did we get here?”

To which the old hermit replied,
“If that question ain’t got no answer attached to it,
I ain’t got none that fits.
If you is goin’ anywhere in particular
Up here, yu’d better figger fust how to get thar.
Cuz by jest goin’ afore ya know where yere agoin’
Ya can get to a powerful lotta places ya might not wanta be.”

Author Unknown, pity

Monday, April 10, 2017

Looked At Your Shoes Lately?

Looked At Your Shoes Lately?
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, May 10, 2017

Just finished reading a remarkable book, Me We Be Do or as I like to say it, MeeWeeBeeDooo written by Dr. Randall Bell.  I think the book is special and if read and then practiced, it would make a difference in either your life or the life of someone you care for or maybe both.

The “We” of Me We Be Do refers to the relationships we build with each other.  Dr. Bell suggests that we take the initiative to make friends and be kind to people we do not know.  Today I did a very short study of the way people pass each other in the parking lot, on the sidewalk and in a store. 

What I discovered is that as you approach folks you do not know, their natural tendency is to look at the ground as if the person is looking at his or her shoes.  It made little difference what the gender of the person was, they looked at their shoes as if they were not sure they were still there.  Or perhaps they forgot what pair of shoes they were wearing, or maybe they thought they had put on a brown shoe and a black shoe.  God forbid that they may have left home without wearing any shoes at all.  Shoes ARE important are they not?

My unscientific study continued.  Of ALL the people I had an opportunity to look eye-to-eye with, out of about 18 people (both men and women), only two people actually made eye contact with me and I was trying to garner everyone’s attention to make.  Of the two, when I said “Hey, how are you?”, they both smiled back and made some comment but their smile and their eyes said far more than the words they uttered.  Their face said they were pleased that someone actually said something to them.  I have made a point of saying something nice to strangers I pass every chance I get and almost every time I get a very pleasant response in return.  In fact, I have never had anyone not say something in return or at least wave their hand.  After all, even my dog wants to greet strangers, why shouldn’t I.  Why shouldn’t you?  If you want to answer that question, I’ll wait…..

I did say something today that I typically never do and that is “Hey, how are you?”  Let me ask you a question.  Do you really want to know how a stranger is doing?  For that matter, how many people that you actually know do you want to know how they are really doing?  By doing do you mean, “feel” or “feeling?”  Do you really want to know how someone is feeling other than maybe a close friend or family member and even then, maybe so, maybe not.  What if someone told you how they were feeling?  “Oh my back has been killing me and my feet, well my feet are like they belong to someone else they are so foreign to me.  I am so glad you asked, I just got over the flu but the doctor said it was not contagious but he was not certain of that.  You know how those doctors are; always trying to protect themselves with the disclaimers.  But not to worry, I won’t breath on you, at least not much.  How are you doing?”  See what I mean.  The air just went out of my balloon.  How about yours.  Now answer the question again, do you REALLY want to know how someone is doing?  Not so much.  I thought as much.

The only reason it is difficult to be nice to strangers is because most strangers are more interested in looking at their shoes.  Have you looked at your shoes?  Do you look at your shoes when you come upon a stranger?  Did you ever think that maybe this stranger is out to harm you or take advantage of you or rob you?  You know you have.  But what if you first acknowledged their presence, smiled and said something nice to them like, “Great day!”  That’s it, two words.  You made contact with a total stranger but wait, what if this stranger was out to rob you.  Do you seriously think that most robbers want their targets to be able to recognize them?  Absolutely not but you just did – you recognized their presence and you spoke to them.  You might be able to recognize them in a lineup.  Instead of YOU being off guard as a robber would prefer, it is the robber who is off guard and that is not a good thing for the robbing business.  My advice, always be aware of your surroundings and speak nicely to people when you think you might be in a threatening situation all the while looking for an exit.

Look at your shoes while you are lacing them up if they still have laces.  Otherwise, look strangers in the eye and say something nice to everyone of them.  You just might make someone’s day who really needs their day to be made.  It will definitely make you feel better the more you make other people feel better about their day.  Try it; you’ll like it!

As for saying a greeting when you meet, say something nice when you part company.  I have a friend, Kieran Revellwho lives in Australia and he always says to me as we are hanging up the phone, “Love ya, leave ya!”  Sometimes he adds “mate” at the end, either way, I feel very special when he does that.  So with that said:

Love ya, leave ya Mon Freres!