Monthly Archives: July 2015

058 – The Other Side of the Table

As human beings, we live most of our lives around other human beings. We’re neighbors, fellow bus or subway passengers, colleagues, mutual victims of rush hour, friends, and family to hundreds if not thousands of other people. And yet, very rarely do we spend much time considering these people through any lens that doesn’t also go through us. Are they looking at me? What does he think of me? Does this person see me as competent? Do they think I’m confident? Is everyone laughing at me or with me? And because we spend so much time thinking about ourselves, how wonderfully refreshing and uplifting it is when other people think about us, too! It’s like they really get us!

This simple reality is the key to one of the most underutilized-yet-powerful win-win scenarios we could ever put ourselves in. In our dealings with other people, if we can just stop thinking of ourselves briefly- momentarily- just for a second- and consider the person on the other side of the table from us, we effectively get up, walk over, and get on their side of the table. And all of a sudden we can begin to understand each other and can actually work together toward a common goal or interest.

The beautiful thing about this strategy is that you don’t even have to be subtle or sneaky about it! I’ve frequently expressed to other people, verbatim, “I want to do my best to get on your side of the table and understand where you’re coming from and where you’re trying to go.” This has got to be the most noble sort of manipulation there is; you’re tricking people into allowing you to help them get what they want quicker, better, faster, easier than they could have on their own.

“But Jared,” someone who isn’t as wise as you might whine, “how is that win-win if it’s all about the other person getting what they want?”

That’s the other not-so-secret secret about this whole concept. For it to really, truly work, you’ve got to flat out, no exceptions, unconditionally care about the other person. If you’re thinking about how you can help them so that they’ll help you, or trying to maneuver around or through them for your own end goal, you’re thinking about it all wrong. However, when you really care about that person and what they want and need, then getting on their side of the table and understanding their motivations and their thought processes so that you can help them follows as the next logical step in the process. And when you really care about helping them get what they want, then it becomes something that you want, too. All of a sudden, you’re working together, you’re moving in the same direction, and when you reach that goal, it’s a win-win for both of you.

So, here’s to the table-hoppers who are constantly jumping from booth to booth, sitting down next to other people, and coming alongside them in the spirit of camaraderie and helpfulness. Let’s never forget that for every time we wish the person across from us would think more about what we want, there’s another person looking at us and thinking the same thing.

Categories: community, personal development, success | Tags: , | 1 Comment

057 – The Grind

Been a while, hasn’t it?

So many times we start something and never finish it for one reason or another. Our priorities change, a platform dies (I’m sure I have a myspace profile somewhere waiting for me to come back and update my Top 8), or we just quit what we’re doing.

This site serves a few purposes for me. It offers me a platform to talk about things that are important to me, it gives me a public landing page on Web 1.0 for folks who don’t know me (hey there everybody who visited this page in June when I interviewed for a job- thanks for picking up cookies here), and it serves as a semi-permanent record of who I am and what I’m up to at various points in time. So why haven’t I updated it in almost a year? Well, that’s because I’ve been on somewhat of a grind.

In office culture, we might describe “the grind” as a soul-crushing, repetitive, boring job or task we have to keep going back to. That’s not the grind I mean. In gaming culture, grinding refers to repetitive but intentional tasks that serve to grow and level up your character. That is the grind I’ve been on.

For the past year, I’ve been digging deep into personal finance and leadership concepts. Eventually, I’ll start sharing more of what I’ve been learning here, but for the past year, it’s been major nose-to-the-grindstone, burning through books and blogs and spreadsheets, brain-stretching intensive study. I haven’t had much to say because I’ve been listening and learning. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

See, the thing about personal development is that the benefits of it compound a lot like monetary investments do (in theory). Learning soft skills in team building and leadership at 25 will get you more return over the course of the rest of your life than learning those same things at 65 (not that you shouldn’t keep learning forever!). With that understanding of the compounding effect of learning, I’m determined to grind out as much knowledge and wisdom as I can as early as I can so that I can do better, be better, and live better for the next 100 or so years.

I’ll still be grinding for a while, but I’ll try to check in here every so often. In the meantime, what are you grinding on these days? What skills or attributes in your life are you trying to level up? I’m looking forward to hearing about them!

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