We tend to get tunnel vision when we’re only thinking about ourselves. The big picture becomes impossible to see. Things eventually get real small and the pressure goes up. Ironically, it’s through service to others- the efforts that bring forth a greater good – the energy that positively affects others – that the self’s needs truly get met.
As life’s possibilities and passions begin to be realized, the world opens up, gets bigger, and the pressure goes down. Once things become more about others and less about ourselves, do things really begin to matter… more.
This is the only way to spend one’s life for maximum meaning to emerge. This pursuit of life’s purpose, and the hope of finding it, is the great obsession of many who desire to make a difference in the world. And to make a difference – to leave more than you take – to insist on contributing more than consuming – is the ultimate accomplishment… and the ultimate gift.
In Tool Time-Part 1, I strongly recommended embracing the 3R’s to avoid being a “tool” much of the time. I was simply advocating doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.
Here in Part 2, I’m proposing the 3P’s to lowering one’s “Tool-IQ” for effective communication:
- Consider if alternatives to your way of thinking are POSSIBLE. Tools have knee-jerk reactions to other options that oppose their own manicured mythology. In other words, the biggest tools have closed minds. They rarely consider alternative approaches or methods that may challenge their own preferences, prejudices, and opinions. Asking the “is it possible” question is always appropriate and necessary. Anything less is foolish and the epitome of toolness.
- Be POLITE. It’s OK, really it is. Saying “excuse me” or “thank you” or “please” is a foreign language to the ambassadors of Tool-ville. These words and phrases rarely escape their lips. Why? Two reasons: 1) Unawareness. This type of common courtesy is simply not on their radar… these are the Grade-B Tools. 2) Pride. These types know better, but rarely choose to embrace any appropriate amount of ettiquete. These tools have an entitlement mentality so convincing that they believe they’re better than everyone else … these are the Grade-A Tools.
- Exercise some PATIENCE. Please slow the fuck down… in the store, in your car, in life in general. Give others some space. Back the fuck off. Don’t crowd people in lines. Don’t huff and puff or throw mini-tantrums in Wal-Mart. Relax. Nobody else cares about your starring role in the reality-show in your head. Tools tout their nonverbal impatience for all to see. Tools fail to shrewdly notice their situational surroundings. Tools think they’re the only ones waiting while in a hurry. Tools rarely recognize the importance of timing and having class. When you have one, you most likely have the other.
Great communication results from thinking critically, treating others as you wish to be treated, and demonstrating restraint at times. Not-too-complicated, yet so under-executed.
Why is this so hard for so many?
Because all people (you AND I) are largely self-centered. We’re thinking about ourselves more than we’re not. This gets in the way of being an effective communicator and responding appropriately much of the time because we’re blinded by our own agendas, wants, and needs. To overcome this requires a person to consciously embrace the concept of selfless-selfishness. This is the deliberate choice to put the wants of others first. By doing this, you will get what you need second. This is the opposite of our instincts, somewhat counter-intuitive, but no less imperative. Everybody wins, but only by reducing the Tool-In-You first.
Don’t be a Tool… check out Part 1 and Part 3.