Copyright 2013 – 2022 by Jeff Napier
Table of Contents
A wizard is a person of any age or gender who uses seemingly ‘magical’ powers. Once known, these powers can be used by anyone, but until now, they have been revealed to only a few. The wizard can apply these powers for anything from entertaining friends, to attaining wealth, to positively changing the world.
Whereas a wizard can use the magical powers for negative purposes, not many do. The wizards from the dark side typically come to an early and unfortunate end – dying of embarrassment, poverty – or worse. Furthermore, attempting to use the magic for unsavory purposes usually has no effect or can backfire.
This book will reveal the ways of the wizards, so you can use the powers as you wish – simply for amusement, or so that you, too, can create a positive outcome for yourself, your family and friends, or for everyone.
Much has been written about the Law of Attraction, but oddly, the most important parts have been left out. This has unfortunately frustrated millions of people. They tried some of the techniques. The techniques did not work. They moved on. So now it is time to revisit the Law of Attraction, learn what it really is, and how it really works.
The simple explanation:
The law of attraction = what you think is what you get.
In general, if you think affirmative thoughts, you’ll get wonderful results. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes you can make in your life when you employ the law of attraction through some specific, yet, simple techniques. It has failed for many people only because they don’t really know how the mechanisms under the hood work. Knowing that will give you the assurance and patience to take the right steps. This chapter is dedicated to helping you put the law of attraction into action.
Some people will refuse to believe something so simple can actually work until they know how it works. OK, I understand. Here are a couple of ways it works. You’ll find others later on.
1. When you’re in a negative loop, such as “I’m in debt, I’m in debt,” your mind is preoccupied with that thought. It’s as if your neurons have burned a path of least resistance – making it just about impossible to not worry about your debt. You’re also far too occupied with your loop to be creative.
If, you start to look at what you already do have, a nice pair of shoes, a dog who adores you, a warm home, your negative loop is interrupted, and you can start thinking of ways out of the debt. (By the way, if you are looking for ways out of debt – that are fairly easy to implement and actually work – you’ll find some later in this book.) You may also become depressed when you focus on the negative, and people who are depressed can make ineffective decisions. Worst of all, you can go to ‘default’ which is what’s left when you don’t exercise your most potent power – the power to choose.
2. When you stay focused on what you want, not on what you don’t want, you start making small, but important decisions that will move you in the right direction.
3. You may wonder what would happen if everyone got what they wanted. What if lots of people became rich? Would that mean that everyone else would get poorer? No, in fact the opposite happens. When you’re rich, you buy things. The salespeople get commissions, the stores and factories make money, and are able to pay their workers more.
Let’s say you want a new convertible. People familiar with the law of attraction may suggest you put a picture of that convertible on your bathroom mirror, and start wishing for it. I know that seems rather simplistic, and for this example it is, but it actually helps it to work to a degree. Some people create an entire ‘vision board’ filled with photos reminiscent of what they want. It’s known to be more effective when just one wish is focused on at a time.
Here’s how it once worked for me: In my early cash-poor twenties, when I certainly couldn’t qualify for a car loan, I wanted a Land Rover. Back then, a brand new one was $5,000. I went to several car dealers anyway, just to look and wish some more. Poking around in a dealer’s back lot, I discovered a dusty used one that actually still ran, for $400. Quite a surprise! It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was a Land Rover I could afford. On the drive home, it overheated. It set me back $90 for a new radiator. That took a week to save up for, and another week to order. Then I had a Land Rover that actually ran fairly well, but it looked terrible. Although I was quite happy with mine, what I really wanted was a good-looking Land Rover. I had a friend who worked in a body shop who could give me a paint job for $200. A couple of months later, I had the car painted a deep metal-flake green with black trim. In my opinion, it actually looked better than the new Land Rovers, since you couldn’t get them in that color. Thinking others may feel the same way, I put an ad in the newspaper, and sold my $400 Land Rover for $2,800! It didn’t take long to come up with another $2200, and I got my brand new Land Rover, paid for in cash!
OK, you’re probably wondering where that last $2200 came from. Here’s what happened: One day the transmission in my $400 Land Rover broke down. Back then, Land Rovers were rare and I couldn’t buy the parts anywhere, so I bought a used Land Rover, one that was crashed, and took the transmission out for my car. I then sold the windshield, the wheels, the seats, axles, engine, all sorts of other parts. After paying to dispose of the remains, I had well over $2,000.
Now I realize you may not be able to do what I did, you may not even know exactly what an axle is, let alone how to sell one, but I’ll bet you have marketable skills, also. You probably have skills that you don’t yet realize can bring big positive changes to your life. This book will help you leverage what you already have.
Just in case you’re still not understanding how I do things, and how you can too, let me cite one more example. This one happened just a few years ago: I started a bookstore in an era when people simply don’t do that. Independent bookstores have been badly hurt by online book venues such as Amazon.com and of course Kindle. But, I felt like it would be a fun project to set up a small store, where I could greet the public, and sell books. So I did it. I did a few things differently, including having a back-room operation where I sold used books online.
After four months, I lost interest. I used to think losing interest in good projects was one of my bigger flaws, but now I’m realizing it has always been an advantage. Can you understand ways in which that may be true? What flaws might you have that are really advantages, if considered differently?
Having lost interest, I sold the store. Initially, I listed it for a price that was three times higher than what I had invested, but my wife stopped me. She advised that since the bookstore was already making enough money to interest a lot of possible buyers, that I could easily quadruple my asking price price. Just four days after placing the ad, the business sold for twelve times the original investment!
In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to teach you how to use the law of attraction (and other techniques) to truly get what you want.
Follow These Three Steps, And You Can Have Most Anything!
1. The first trick is to figure out exactly what you want. Oddly, almost everyone thinks they can answer that question without hesitation, but upon deeper reflection, it can be quite confusing. In time, you may discover things about yourself that you never knew.
A woman with a degree in psychology was looking for something more meaningful than her current job of writing employee psych evaluations for an insurance company. She couldn’t really get a handle on it, until one day she discovered she’d like to work with children. She burst into tears upon making that discovery. She had never given any thought to the idea of working with people other than adults until then.
So, how do you figure out what you really want? Try this trick: Ask a friend to ask you these specific questions:
What do you want (or what would you like)?
Where, when, and with whom would you like to have it?
What will having that do for you?
And what will having that do for you?
How will you know when you have it?
How will it affect your friends and family?
What will you lose that you value when you have it?
Have your friend repeat these questions in any sequence several times over the course of an hour or so, and you may be surprised how much your answers change.
Repeat this technique with a few friends over the course of a week or two.
2. Work out a plan of action. Pretty much anything you want to do can be attained in a succession of little tiny steps. Nothing needs to be difficult. Even designing an action plan can be easy. Especially when you know you don’t have to follow it exactly. Let the universe help guide you. If you make a plan that’s about right, with adjustments as things happen, you’ll get to where you’re going. An example:
I know a couple who were struggling to make their organic bakery profitable. One night their house burned down. You might think: Surely that’s a setback. But they knew about the law of attraction. They knew that what seems like a negative event can often be perceived as positive, and in fact becomes a positive event. They basically had a party in the street as the firemen were putting out the pile of rubble that had been their home. They moved into a teepee on a friend’s farm for the summer, paying no rent, and before winter they had found a better, furnished home that was closer to their bakery and lower rent than what they were paying before.
A couple of months later, the merchant next door made a little mistake and burned their bakery down! They did not have proper insurance. Do you think they worried? No, they didn’t! Within another month or so, they rented a new commercial building, bought a bunch of second-hand bakery equipment, and were back in business. But, this time they picked up a better location. This time, there was room for their customers to park, and their sign could be seen on the main thoroughfare. Their financial worries were over!
3. Be open to receiving. One of the best things you can do is to appreciate what you already have. That puts you in a feeling and position in which new things can come to you. Without that, you may not recognize the opportunities when they come up. Like the joke:
A man was caught in a flood, and had to climb up on the roof of his house. But, he knew God would take care of him. A helicopter came by, and lowered a harness. The man refused it, saying, “No, God will rescue me.” Another helicopter came by, and again he refused it. So he drowned and went to heaven. One of the first things he did when he got to Heaven was ask God, “Why didn’t you rescue me?” And God said, “I tried. What do you think those helicopters were?”
And, it helps to be patient. There’s a story about a gold mine in California. The owners dug and dug, but came up with no gold. So, they sold the mine for nearly nothing. The new owners dug three more feet, and hit the biggest vein of gold yet discovered.
And, it helps to have some supportive people around you that will bring you back to your goal. For instance, if you tell your plan to all your friends, and then you get a bit lazy, they’ll remind you, and get you back on track. And, your friends will tell their friends, and benefits can come seemingly out of nowhere. This is a very big part of the effectiveness of the law of attraction.
Many years ago, I owned a bicycle shop. I really wanted a metal lathe for the shop which is a very expensive tool. I told people, and one day, a 12-year-old boy came in the shop and said, “My grandmother has one.” I figured it was probably a wood lathe, a much less expensive tool that I couldn’t use, but I called her anyway. Her husband had passed, and she just wanted to be rid of it, so she gave it to me – wouldn’t hear of accepting any cash. It was a metal lathe in perfect condition with a wide array of attachments.
4. Be willing to accept variations. I once went through the exercise in step one with a client who initially told me he wanted to be a millionaire. I asked, “What would having that do for you?” He told me that as a millionaire he could afford a large home. Then I asked “And what would having a large home do for you?” He told me that then he could have a cat. And I asked, “And what would having a cat do for you?” He said, “Well, I would love to pet the cat for hours. I could slow down. I could think. I’d be happy!”
With his new understanding, it wasn’t long before he moved into an apartment where pets were allowed, and got his cat. And he was able to slow down and think. Starting to feel the law of attraction in action, he then turned his focus on having his own business. He started selling fishing equipment at the local flea market. His business grew, and in time he was able to quit his job. Today, he is well on his way to becoming a millionaire, but that’s not so important anymore, since he has his cat.
Exploring new possibilities, and being willing to flex, change, adjust, is the best way to make sure you get what you want. Julia Child, the late famous French chef, tried making hats. That didn’t work out, so she took a class in cooking.
I knew a woman who wanted to be a biochemist from a young age. She worked her way through college and got a masters degree. Her first job as a biochemist involved force-feeding 100 mice. This is a process where you put a tube down their throats and inject liquified food directly into their stomachs. She cried herself to sleep for two weeks. Then she quit her biochemist job. She learned to juggle, tell silly jokes, and make balloon animals. Today, she is very happy. She earns her living as a clown, entertaining at children’s parties. That may not be what you want to do, but it is exactly what she wants to do.
“Long ago I learned that to those who mean right and try to do right, there are no such things as real misfortunes. On the other hand, to such persons, all apparent evils are blessings in disguise.” – P. T. Barnum
Trust, be patient, relax, have fun – live a good life! – Jeff
Pain makes it difficult to concentrate, to have energy to do new things, to be creative. Let’s take care of any pain you, or your friends or family may have, right away!
Here’s a two-part system for dealing with physical pain that works most of the time. This is written as if you want to use it on yourself, but it works great when you use it on others, too. You don’t have to do it exactly right. Just get it approximately right, and do it with the right spirit. It will still work fine.
Part 1: It helps to understand that pain is not bad. It is a message system. It’s your body’s way of telling your conscious mind, “Hey, we’ve got to take care of something,” that your conscious mind might otherwise disregard.
Using the parts of yourself that know how to do it, let your body tell you all about the pain. Really listen to the message. You may be surprised by what your body wants you to know. In some cases, such as a sprained ankle, the message may be simple and obvious, “You’ve got to keep your weight off that ankle so it can heal.”
A message like that can’t be argued with. And, you wouldn’t want that pain to go away, because you probably would walk on it, which would indeed interfere with the healing.
The message may be something like, “Get medical help.” OK, that’s the way to take care of this pain. If you get that message, skip the rest of this chapter for now and get that help, you can come back to this later.
Once you have listened to your pain message, you can work out a solution that your body can accept. For instance, “How about if the pain can be gone as long as I don’t walk on it?” Or, ‘How about if the pain can be gone while I’m sleeping, reading, eating, and only comes back when I need to pay attention?’
Be ready for really interesting messages. And, you may have to be inventive to come up with an acceptable deal.
Part 2: Did you know you can change pain? If the pain is sharp, like a knife, try noticing that it can be duller. Or if it is dull, sharpen it a bit.
So, if you can change that, what else can you change? Go ahead and experiment. How about the size of the painful area? The depth? Does it have a frequency? A color? A temperature or texture? If you’ve never tried adjusting these pain attributes, you might be quite surprised how easy and effective it is, once you get the knack of it.
If you are working with someone else, and they aren’t able to change the attributes of their pain, you might take a break for a minute, and let them discover that they can learn new things of this sort.
Try this: Have them learn to inhale deeply, by asking them to exhale forcefully and fully. To their delight, the deep inhalation then comes automatically. Then go back to adjusting the pain.
Oh, and an aside: Referring to it as their pain, gives them ownership of it. I don’t think they really want to own ‘their’ pain.
The most interesting attribute of pain is location. Can you move the pain one inch higher? To the left? So, if you can move it an inch, how about further? How about moving it to another part of your body? How about somewhere outside your body? Isn’t that a nice solution? When it’s outside your body, you can still have the safety of the awareness that it exists, but it doesn’t have to bother you any more.
Picking Things Up
Unlike muggles (non-wizards), you’ll never have to stoop down to pick things up again after reading this chapter and practicing a bit.
For spherical objects such as oranges and tennis balls, you can trap the item between your heels and kick it over your head. Jump up and kick your heels behind you as if you were trying to kick yourself in the butt. The item will go up over your head to be easily caught in front of your body. If this doesn’t work at first, make sure the item is far back between your heels, not between the arches of your feet.
Another way to kick up a spherical object is to scrape the item onto the top of your
dominant foot with your other foot, and then lift your knee and kick forward, causing the item to come straight up. Because it is difficult to balance round objects on the top of your foot, the entire operation is combined into a quick, smooth movement so you kick up as soon as the object rolls on top of your foot. This rapid action also makes it look like a very nifty trick. This takes more practice than the heel kick.
A one-foot variation that’s slightly harder to master is to place the front of your foot on top of the object, then slide your foot backward rapidly and stop as your foot hits the ground. The object will spin backward, onto your foot, at which point you can quickly lift your foot up, causing the object to fly into the air.
Tennis players pick up tennis balls by trapping a ball between the tennis racket and the outside of a foot. The ball is swept up while trapped between the racket and foot, to where it can be easily caught in the hand. Again, fast movement is the key. In this case, the fast sweep gives the ball upward momentum so you don’t have to put much stroke into the sweeping movement.
If your object is a bouncy ball and you are near a wall, you can also kick the ball against the wall so that it bounces back, right to your hand.
But what if the tennis racket is on the ground?
Linear objects can be kicked up even more easily than spherical ones. Scrape one end of the linear object onto your dominant foot with your other foot. Your weight should be primarily on the non-dominant foot, but what weight is on the dominant foot, should be on the heel, and the toe should be tipped up off the ground slightly. A point a couple of inches from end of the object should rest against the bottom of your shin or the top of your ankle. Then, kick upwards in a sweeping movement. The sweep should be outside and backward, as if you were planning to kick yourself in the butt, not forward as you would think. This will hook the item between the bottom of your shin and the top of your foot, lift it up, and cause it to spin in the air, where after a single revolution, it can be easily caught in your hand. This works best for objects between 18 and 30 inches long (43 – 76cm), such as umbrellas, yardsticks, firewood, and of course, tennis rackets. If this does not work for you at first, think about kicking out and back, not up. Once you have practiced this, it is a very impressive trick. You want more impressive? Kick it harder, so it goes high into the air and spins two or even three turns before you catch it. With practice, you can kick up shorter objects such as a rolled up newspaper, or longer ones such as a baseball bat.
Tossing and Flourishing
You may have seen a chef who has mastered some visual display techniques. Sometimes people will crack crabs with two small hammers, throwing the hammers in the air between hits, even alternating hands. Perhaps you have seen some amazing pizza spinners. Have you seen This Drummer is at the Wrong Gig on YouTube?
You don’t have to be as proficient in manipulating objects. In fact, you can be a wizard with no object manipulation skill at all. But, whenever you handle a tool or object with a little flourish, it gives the illusion of confidence and control. If you are in any sort of public display, a musical performance, a lecture, a little kinetic art goes a long way. I knew a math professor who would occasionally teach his class on stilts. The material that he taught was the same, but the students really paid attention and remembered it. The head of the National Cash Register Company felt his salesmen weren’t listening to a speech he was giving, so he grabbed a sledgehammer and smashed up a cash register on stage. That got their attention.
If object manipulation interests you, you might start with a simple flip. The ideal object to practice with would be straight, 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) long, have a diameter of an inch (2.5 cm) or less, weigh about five to ten ounces (1/4 to 1/2 kg), have no sharp edges, and be easy to see. You can make a practice object by cutting a wooden dowel, rounding the edges, and painting or covering one end with tape. The colored end is so you can easily tell the difference between half and full spins.
Start with single spins. With practice, you’ll find you can do double, and eventually triple spins, which are progressively more impressive than single spins. Use both hands, so you can learn to easily flip from hand to hand. Then you might want to fool around with flourishes. Try rolling the object around among your fingers, or moving it in a figure eight pattern while held loosely, using a lot of wrist movement. More accomplished object manipulators can spin objects on their head, manipulate one object in each hand, put together complex patterns combining tosses and flourishes, and of course, manipulate the actual things they work with. A mechanic may manipulate wrenches, a carpenter may throw and catch a hammer, a tennis playing wizard might do all sorts of fun things with tennis rackets, balls, and tennis ball cans.
To give you an idea of what’s possible, and not even all that hard to learn, here’s a nifty tennis serve: At the same time you throw the ball high in the air, you throw the tennis racket up for two spins. You catch the racket just before the ball returns. As the ball falls where it would for a normal serve, you serve the ball, using your normal swing.
Perhaps you’re more into baseball than tennis. Take a look at any accomplished baton twirler. Which baton tricks could you learn with a baseball bat?
Kind of reminds you of juggling, doesn’t it? Here’s a shortcut for learning juggling. The trick is to understand the pattern. Start with three balls, two in your dominant hand, one in your other. Throw one of the balls in your dominant hand to the other. The throw should be about two to three feet (60 to 90 cm) high. Now, just before the ball arrives to your non-dominant hand, throw the ball that the non-dominant hand is holding back to the dominant hand. Before that ball arrives, throw the last ball to the non-dominant hand. And you are juggling. Do you see the pattern yet? You are really throwing only one ball at a time. Just before it arrives, you throw the one that occupies the hand that’s going to catch it, so that the catching hand is free. Every time you throw a ball, it goes to the opposite hand.
Three points to remember when learning to juggle:
For many people, you need to overcome a habit of handing the second ball to the other hand. The second, and every subsequent throw must be as high as the first – about two to three feet (60 – 90 cm).
Don’t try to do everything at the same time. Each throw follows the other after a small delay.
You will tend to move forward as the pattern starts to develop. This is a natural tendency. All your life, you have learned to protect your face, so you naturally tend to avoid throwing things near your face. You throw forward. You may even find yourself running forward by your ninth or tenth throw. Do not worry about this habit, it will diminish with time. If you are concerned with breaking the forward habit, practice in front of a wall.
One reason juggling – or a similar object manipulation technique of your choice – is important to wizards is that it teaches patience. Amazing things can be accomplished by allowing your body to learn fine motor skills over time. This is also true of mental pursuits. Learning an object manipulation skill teaches on a deeper level. You learn that you can trust yourself to learn in a way that merely reading about it never really imparts.
Isn’t it interesting that parents love to have a child take an interest in music, but then they are horrified if the child announces that s/he wants to become a professional musician?
The reason they (used to) teach music in schools is that what they are really teaching is a can-do attitude. So, yes, if object manipulation is not your thing, learning to play music is a good way to expand as a wizard.
Skills such as music, ballet, basketball, ice skating, or anything that you enjoy, will help in all your wizardly pursuits. Going a step further, you can investigate less common pursuits – such as Irish step dancing, unicycling, speed chess, or kung fu, which are easier to become recognized in because there are fewer people doing it. Therefore, you are more likely to go the top, to become a recognized expert, for a powerful ego boost. Yes, a bit of ego can be a good thing. It reminds you, it guides you, into doing, performing – being better. So, if you spend two years trying to be the best basketball player you can be, at the end of that time, it is quite likely you won’t have a video like “This Drummer is at the Wrong Gig” made of you, since your skill may not be particularly noticeable, and you may not feel as accomplished as if you had spent the same time doing something fairly unique. Still, you will experience a great deal of pride and the joy of doing something you love – whatever that may be.
A wizard using Creative Listening asks carefully designed questions to help people think about things in new ways. The results can be fantastic, resulting in inventive solutions to problems, overcoming frustration, worry and mild depression, or for learning new ways to relate with friends, family, and co-workers.
A creative listener does not have to be an expert in anything except asking questions. You can use creative listening not only in general ways, but can also help those who are in very specialized fields. You can use CL with a neighbor in your local coffee shop, in a professional session, or anything in-between. You can use it with friends, family, clients, customers, associates – anyone young or old.
The wizard using creative listening does not tell you what to do. The purpose is to help you sort things, make sure nothing is overlooked, take mental leaps, help you see and really feel the lighter side when necessary, and come away with a new perspective and hopefully with a renewed sense of purpose.
Creative listening is free and unrestricted, takes about ten minutes to learn, and can be super-effective in so many ways:
* Helps others understand things they’ve been thinking about in entirely new ways, often resulting in perceptions shifted, problems solved, attitudes adjusted, and progress made.
* Understand things you’ve been thinking about in entirely new ways.
* Quickly establish rapport with clients, customers, teenagers, parents, etc.
* Express criticism in a constructive way without offending, and elicit changed behaviors.
* Help people feel better about themselves and their lives.
In just a few minutes, you can learn enough to communicate more effectively with family, friends, and yourself. In just a few hours of practice, you can use it professionally, adding your skill as a creative listener to your set of wizardry tools.
Easy Steps to Creative Listening
Respectfully challenge ambiguities.
You’d be amazed at what people leave out of conversations. Interestingly, many of these details have never really been analyzed by the speaker. So, when you ask for more detail, very interesting new thoughts can develop.
If the person you’re listening to says, “Everyone says.” – You might ask: “Who specifically says that?“
It can’t be done. – What exactly prevents it from being done?
She hates me. – In what specific way does she let you know that she hates you?
The relationship is in trouble. – How is it in trouble?
The situation is hopeless. – What is the situation, exactly? Or, What lets you know it’s hopeless?
You might think this rude or offensive, but in most cases, when you respectfully ask for more detail, the speaker is honored – knowing that someone truly wants to know what they are thinking.
Ask questions that cause people to think about things in new ways. For example:
What would you like? This is a good place to start in many cases. Variations can include: What’s on your mind? What do you want?
What would having that do for you? This will often cause the speaker to zoom out and see the bigger picture – often for the first time.
And what would having that do for you? Sometimes the degree of zoom isn’t enough – even when you think it is. You’d be surprised what comes up when you zoom out twice.
How will you know when you have it? A surprising way to zoom in for a closer look.
When you have it, what will you lose that you value? This will typically bring the speaker to a dead stop for a minute, and can bring up all sorts of useful objections. Knowing those objections will reveal reasons for procrastination, hesitation, and de-focusing activities.
What’s the opposite of that? Another viewpoint that many people have never considered in ideas they may have thought about often. This can get them out of a loop.
How will your friends, family, or significant others react when you have it? Another way to find hidden blocks.
What stops you? This can bring a new perspective.
If your _____ was a bathtub to fill with something, what would you put in it? This is just an example, you could use all sorts of similar questions here – ones that the listener doesn’t expect, which will jump them off their typical track – often with spectacular results. It can often help them to do something more useful or more productive.
Now that we’ve discussed it a bit, what would you like? Don’t be surprised if the answer is quite different from the original answer the first time you asked this question.
What good things come to someone who _____? Generally, this is a twist that opens new channels of consideration. The blank is often filled with what the person is doing now. For instance: What good things come to someone who does not start a camera store?
What would someone have to believe _____? Much like the question above, you can twist it backward, and be ready to hear some very interesting results.
What’s the first step to getting _____? This is a good way to zoom in, and see the first and most immediate objection.
What needs to be written in my notes? This often elicits a more honest self- appraisal.
In asking all these questions, leave plenty of time for answers. Although at first awkward, you can wait even 15 seconds without saying another word. The person with whom you are speaking will feel the need to fill the silence, and may come up with something very interesting indeed, if given enough silent time.
You can ask these, and other questions, in any sequence that seems right. Indulge your curiosity. Don’t be afraid of questions that seem too personal or prying. If you ask these well, and follow the steps below, not only will you get the answers you seek, but the person with whom you are speaking will feel quite honored that you care enough to ask such deep things.
If the conversation veers off-track, you can steer it back by saying something like, “Thank you,” or “Yes, I can see how that would happen,” but then ask for specific information to get the conversation back on track. For instance, if the person starts talking about exactly how he built a bookshelf, you might say, “I see you really enjoyed that project. So, what would you…?”
You can guide the conversation to what’s called a ‘well-formed outcome.’ Ultimately, you’d like the person you’re conversing with to state a desire in the positive, and have it be something s/he can realistically initiate and maintain.
For instance, “I’d like my mother to stop nagging me,” is not a well-formed outcome, because it is stated in the negative, and it depends on the mother changing.
A better outcome might be something like, “I’d like to start creating harmony between my mother and myself.”
It has been said that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. You have experienced that. For instance, someone may say that their neighbor is ‘alright,’ but as they say it, you see their shoulders rise up, their facial features tighten, their respiration becomes shallow. In this situation, do you learn more from their words (‘alright’), or from their physiology? You can do a lot with this 93 percent.
You can build tremendous unconscious rapport by mirroring posture, gestures and audio tonality. If you wait approximately seven seconds and then position yourself the same way, if you moderate your speed, volume and pitch to sound somewhat similar, if you play back gestures, your listener will become more trusting, more willing to share deeper thoughts and emotions, and more willing to listen carefully to what you have to say. Don’t take my word for it – try it out. Surprisingly, you won’t be ‘busted’ unless you do it very blatantly. In most cases, you can mirror people very completely, and they never suspect a thing. So, as your person sits in the chair with her left arm forward, you can sit in your chair with your right arm forward. A very primitive part of the human brain sees the mirroring, and says, “That person is like me. I can feel comfortable with that person.” The same is true for matching speaking speed, volume, and tonality.
Backtracking is a valuable technique. This means that you repeat certain key phrases back to the person you are conversing with, generally several seconds or even minutes later. For instance, if your user states that something good is ‘tubular,’ and if you use that same word in a similar context, this will raise their comfort level – they’ll feel honored and heard. Backtracking is actually the opposite of a technique known as ‘active listening’ in which you rephrase what you’ve heard to prove that you understood it. Backtracking has the rather surprising effect of causing the listener believe that you really understood what was said. Whereas active listening is a powerful technique, you’ll find backtracking has an even more profound effect. Try it for yourself!
Noticing physiology can let you know when it is time to shift gears. You can read when you’ve lost someone’s attention, when you have asked for too much detail, gone into an area that brings sadness, and so on. With practice, you can read where to focus more attention. For instance, as the conversation shifts to parents, you may see physiology changes that indicate something more needs to be discussed about a mother or father. You may see a slight sheen of sweat, tightened lips, or a change in eyebrows. You may see breathing become shallow or even stop temporarily. Or, you may see a deep, calming breath, closing of the eyes longer than a blink, a more relaxing shift in sitting position, indicating you’ve come back to ‘safe’ territory in the conversation.
Remember what you are trying to accomplish. Quite often, your story, your attitude, your concerns creep into the conversation. In many cases, that’s counter-productive. The moment you start coaching or telling your story, your effectiveness as a creative listener
Depending on what you wish to accomplish, you may not have to tell the person you’re talking with anything specific. Simply giving them the opportunity to talk freely can help them feel better, see things in new ways, and arrive at a more satisfactory conclusion, especially if you use steps 1 and 2. You may have heard women tell men ‘not to fix them.’ This is what they’re talking about. A typical man in modern society will look for suggestions to offer. A typical woman will more often refrain from offering anything other than a good ear. Have you ever offered unsolicited suggestions? How well did the recipient respond to your advice?
So how do you make money with Creative Listening?
There may be more ways than one can count.
The first, probably most obvious way, is to offer your services in person or by phone as a creative listening wizard. You might consider charging $1 per minute to start. As you gain a reputation, and as more and more of your early clients call you back, I believe it would be quite realistic to charge $2/minute ($120/hour).
Reputation would be the best way to spread the word, but that takes time. To kick it off, you can do all the usual things: post flyers on local bulletin boards, attend meetings around where you live and hand out business cards to anyone and everyone along with an ‘elevator speech’ – a 20 second friendly introduction about what you can do for them with creative listening.
Or, you may prefer to work strictly by phone. This gives you a national, or even international pool of potential customers. You can advertise what you do in all the usual Internet ways: Via Google AdWords, create a blog, add it to your website, pay for space on other websites, and so on.
You can offer discounts to local or phone people. I’d like to recommend something like this: Tell them to tell the truth about what you do, as they see it. Give them a certain number of business cards in trade for a certain amount of service, and tell them that via the honor system, they are expected to distribute the cards in meaningful ways. As you are just starting your business, any client at all is valuable. Even if they pay you nothing. You get to practice, and you’ve got someone who will naturally tell others about what you can do. But, if they have been given ten cards in trade for 20 free minutes from you, they’ll be even more inclined to spread the word.
As I mentioned, there are other ways to make money with creative listening. How many can you think of? For instance, you could teach it independently or via a community education system. You could ‘street perform’ creative listening. You’d bring two chairs or stools and perhaps an easel-mounted sign to a public place, and just get a volunteer and start a conversation. At the same time, you build and acknowledge a crowd, and eventually pass the hat. After your ‘performance’, pass your cards out to encourage people to call on you professionally – now that they’ve seen what you can do.
You can also mix creative listening in with your with your other activities. You may be a coach, teacher, or perhaps a computer repair technician, and find that creative listening helps your business in all the ways where good communication makes a difference – which is everywhere!
Speaking metaphorically is one of the hallmarks of a wizard. Many wizards do it often.
Sometimes, you may feel a need to actively create change, but know the person who you want to change may be resistant. So how do you go about helping the resistant person change?
You can talk about a person in a similar situation, real or imagined, and what that person did. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re speaking with a neighbor about his brown lawn. It may be bothering you like crazy, since everyone else on the block has nice green lawns.
You could tell him: “Hey, I don’t like looking at your brown lawn! Please water it.”
I think you can imagine the effect that would have.
Or, after spending a few minutes with steps 1 through 4 in the Creative Listening chapter, you could tell him a brief story about a fellow who collected plaster lawn gnomes, enjoyed his riding mower, and felt great satisfaction in having a green lawn. And say nothing more. Wait a week and see what happens.
Another example: Let’s say you’re talking with your teenage son about being too loud in public places. You might say, ‘Have you ever noticed how everyone cringes when my friend Fred shows up? I guess that’s just because he’s so loud.”
Metaphors don’t work every time, but neither does a direct statement. You can try a few different metaphors in a few different conversations, and eventually you’re more likely to be effective than with direct statement, especially with repeated direct statements, which turn all too easily into nagging.
A wizard often has three other speaking techniques worth practicing.
The wizard might develop the habit of speaking slowly. One can start by counting silently to three before answering or responding. Going a step further, speak clearly and spread the words through time, sometimes even eccentrically so, can make what the wizard has to say stand out in comparison to the same thing spoken normally. It can also give the impression that the wizard is particularly knowledgeable or intelligent.
The wizard who consistently speaks quietly, even to the point where people have to struggle to hear the wizard, also gains presentation points.
The third technique is waiting silently and patiently for someone to come up with an answer. The muggle rushes to fill silences, sometimes even putting words into the mouths of the people with whom they are conversing. The wizard who waits even up to 15 seconds, not only gets a more honest, and sometimes totally unexpected response, but also adds aura of mistery to the wizard’s countenance.
One of the most common wizardry techniques is speaking metaphorically. Telling someone they ‘ought’ to do something, even if it is in answer to a specific plea for coaching, tends to be less effective than spinning a metaphor. This kind of metaphor is typically a short story about someone who is similar but different, facing a similar but different situation. The person in the story just happens to take whatever the wizard thinks is the ‘right’ action, and the story ends in success.
Metaphors don’t always work. You need to watch your recipient’s physiology to see if the metaphor ‘went in’ or not. And, it will often bump against the long-held memories of childhood traumas, and other subconscious resistance, but sometimes a metaphor is just the right medicine.
So, here’s a metaphor promoting long-term persistence. This is for the person who needs some coaching to follow through on a project. To keep going when it seems to the person like there is no hope. This is also good for someone who keeps doing the same thing, and expecting different results.
You can use this for yourself just by reading and absorbing it. You can use it with your own friends, family or clients. You can even spin your own custom version of this story.
This particular story happens to be true. I won’t mention the name of the person who is involved, because even though it happened a long time ago, he may or may not want to be associated with it. He told it to me in front of some other people, and it wasn’t in a wizardry session, so I think it is OK to tell you.
It seems this fellow really, really wanted to be a successful science fiction author. Somehow, he figured he had to co-write. He contacted some of the best names in the business with his ideas, and ended up co-writing books with Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein and many the biggest sci-fi authors of the day.
Each book he co-wrote died in the market. They never made any significant royalties beyond the initial small advances. He kept trying to co-write these books for 18 years, while he supported himself as an English professor at a community college.
After all these non-successes, none of the big names would co-write with him anymore. His name became poison in the science fiction business. They figured, “Write with him, and your book will die for sure.”
So, in desperation, he wrote a book independently, and submitted it to editors at the various publishers. One of the publishing houses picked it up, and it became an international best-seller.
Understanding a bit about the nature of animals makes a world of difference.
I was once walking into a store and noticed a big German Shepherd tied to a bike rack out front. I walked confidently near the dog, and held out my hand for the dog to sniff. After a few seconds of sniffing, I petted the dog and he enjoyed it, as did I. Then, I started walking into the store, but stopped when I heard the same dog barking loudly, and people yelling behind me. It seems a fellow walking behind me wanted to impress his girlfriend who was walking along with him. He just reached out, and tried to pet the dog, even though he was afraid of him. He wanted her to know that he was brave, just like that older fellow who had just petted the dog a moment ago. But things didn’t turn out right. The dog bit the poor guy.
What happened there? Well, I knew something of a dog’s nature. The dog depends heavily on the sense of smell. To a dog, that’s as important to seeing or hearing is to a human. The dog is not going to trust someone he can’t smell, just like you wouldn’t trust someone you can’t see. The dog is also very good at reading body language. He did not sense or smell any fear or concern on me, even though I was cautious. I didn’t present my hand until I was certain the dog was OK with me.
What would you do if you are riding your bike and a dog starts chasing you? The most effective response is to be a pack leader. The dog respects that – it is part of the dog’s nature. If you firmly say, “Go Home” – or anything at all, but in a commanding tone, the dog, instantly knows who is boss – and who is not! Taking command won’t always work, especially if the dog senses that you are fearful. So what else is going on in the dog’s nature that you can leverage? Dog’s love to chase. That’s how they eat. Until domestication, dogs always had to chase something to catch and eat it. They still enjoy the process of chasing. So, you stop riding your bike. You can dismount on the side of the bike opposite the dog. In a worst case scenario, you could mash the bike against the dog as protection, but if you have firmly commanded the dog, and have stopped providing something to chase, you won’t need to do anything more.
Cats, like dogs, like people, enjoy being petted, but only if all other needs are taken care of. The temperature has to be right, the cat has to be well-fed, in no pain, and not annoyed by an overly-busy environment. Cats, also like dogs, are scent oriented. They like to smell you first. They also like to see your approach. Many people will try to pet a cat without letting the cat see the hand approaching the back of the cat’s head, ears or neck.
You might not say that a cat is proud of its claws, but they are a very important tool for a cat. They like to use their claws. They are used to using their claws. They will tend to use them unless there is a good reason not to.
Punishing a cat pretty much doesn’t work. Instead of the desired effect, the cat will just avoid the situation entirely in the long run. They may not have the sophistication to differentiate between being hit or yelled at because they stuck their claws in your leg, and because they came near you. So, instead of teaching the cat not to claw you, you have inadvertently taught the cat to stay away from you. While a dog is a pack animal, and is quite sensitive to commands, whether verbal or expressed as body language from the leader, the cat is a more solitary animal, so they don’t understand that when you call, you want h/she to come to you. They can learn, however, that when you call, there is usually something nice to eat.
That’s not to say cats are not intelligent. They may be remarkably intelligent. I was once learning to do single-spin jumps on rollerblades. I was in the house, in socks, jumping into the air, spinning around one turn, and landing on one foot. My cat saw this, and turned around in almost exact 360-degree circles, twice. Do you suppose she was pretending she was me?
Sometimes, right after I took a shower, this cat would walk into the wet shower stall, and stand and look up at the shower head for one or two whole minutes. What was she thinking?
There was a time when horses had to be concerned about being attacked by wolves, lions and other predators. They evolved to have eyes on the sides of their head, so they could watch for enemies in almost all directions. If you approach a horse straight on, they are confused, because they don’t see you clearly. If you approach from behind, they see you, but not clearly, and it looks like trouble, so you might get kicked.
A horse’s eyes do not focus like our eyes. In order to see at a distance, their heads must be held up high. To see close, their heads must be low. That’s why they bob up and down when you approach. They’re trying to see you clearly.
Horses, too, are probably more intelligent than is generally believed. They have a highly developed sense of curiosity. If you can interest a horse in what you are doing, the horse will come close to check it out. Some horse whisperers use this to ‘break’ a new horse. They’ll turn their back to the horse while tying and untying a rope knot. The wild horse just has to come close to see what’s going on.
Horses, like dogs are pack animals. Actually herd animals, which is similar in that they are most comfortable with other familiar beings nearby. That’s why a horse will be so accommodating – doing heavy work for you. Once they get used to you, once you become their ‘herd,’ they will seek comfort in your company.
Carrot Vs. Stick
Punishing a horse,besides being cruel, is not as effective as offering it carrots. That’s because in the natural world, there isn’t much punishment. Oh, a member of the herd may nip at a misbehaving horse, but real punishment is doled out in nature rarely to a horse. Something like being bit by a rattlesnake can happen. The horse’s natural reaction is to run away in fear from any such situation. So, they really don’t understand being hit, yelled at, or deprived of food. That’s just not in their background to understand, and the only response they can think of is to try to run away. It would be a shame to punish a horse, or any animal, when the gentler ways of training them are so much easier and more effective.
A rattlesnake wants to be at the right temperature. Sometimes it means coiling under a rock. Sometimes that means laying in the sun right in the middle of the trail. It is a solitary animal and wants to be left alone. You do not want to step on a snake. That’s bad for everyone. The snake can strike within a distance of only 1/3 of its length. The snake’s teeth have a difficult time penetrating leather boots, denim jeans or two pairs of socks. Its top crawling speed is three miles per hour (4 kph). You can safely walk among snakes if you know these things.
In summary, understanding the nature of animals makes working with them so much more effective. Study the animals you’re working with. Try to understand how they evolved. If you understand their natural problems and triumphs, you can replicate or avoid those situations as needed. For instance, knowing that a skunk will pat the ground with its front paws as warning before spraying is very useful in working with skunks. If you ignore that, the skunk will turn around. If you’re still not gone – too bad!
Four very common words do not usually have the effect you’d expect.
When you say don’t you are setting up a situation that is the opposite of what you literally say. For instance, if I tell you, “Don’t think about dragons,” what happens? Right, you immediately think about dragons. It seems that on some level, the mind
understands that whatever follows “don’t” is important, but the “don’t” part itself is not emphasized. It’s as if parents who tell their children, “Don’t put your milk so close to the edge of the table,” are asking for trouble. Teachers who tell their students, “Don’t run” are almost commanding them to run.
In wizardry, you can use this aspect of “don’t” to help people focus on new thoughts or behaviors. One of the most powerful uses is at the end of a session when you can offer a hypnotic suggestion such as this: “And, don’t be surprised if in the next few days, you’ll have wonderful revelations born out of our conversation today.”
But is a word that also has a special effect. Any part of a sentence before the word “but” is pretty much wiped out by whatever follows. For instance, if I tell someone, “I like what you wrote, but the last paragraph confuses me,” guess what happens? Right again! All the person hears is the critique. The entire complimentary part of the sentence is lost.
Another such word is why. When you ask “why” you get ‘story.’ Asking “why” is like an invitation or a challenge to defense – it puts the person who is asked in a space where they have to try to tell you why on a conscious level, and this is often counter-productive. A better question is “How,” or something like, “What let you know to. . .” or “When. . .”
Try is another problematic or powerful word. It really implies making an effort, but has nothing to do with success. Most of the time, when someone says “try” an unsuccessful outcome is expected. You can learn to notice “try” in conversation, and understand the underlying implication. The person speaking may be indicating that lack of success is expected. How might you use, or not use “try” effectively when you’re speaking?
How to Deal With an Undesirable Person
“When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us; Power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness.” – Dale Carnegie
This little procedure takes just a few minutes, and can change your situation with a family member, acquaintance, client, or just about anyone, in spectacular ways. It is not necessary to do this thing exactly ‘right.’ If you mix up a step or have something out of position, it is likely to work well anyway.
This chapter is written as if you are using the technique for yourself, but you can just as easily guide someone else through this little procedure.
1. If your most vivid memories of this undesirable person involve sitting, arrange three empty chairs approximately as shown. If it was a standing situation, chairs are not needed.
2. Sit in chair A. Try to imagine your ‘undesirable’ person sitting in chair B. With the parts of you that know how to do it, move yourself into your co-worker in chair B, and see the world through the other person’s eyes, hear the world through that person’s ears, and so on. For the next few minutes, you are the other person.
3. As that other person, you are looking at yourself in chair A. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel about the person in chair A? What do you think about that person in chair A?
4. Whenever you are ready, get up, and do something to break your state. Spell a word backward, walk in a circle, just anything to free your mind for a moment.
5. Sit in chair C and become an independent observer. You are not yourself or the other person. As the observer, what do you see, hear, think, feel about the interaction between yourself in chair A, and the person in B?
5a. Imagine/sense that your chair is very far removed from chairs A and B, and see if anything changes. How about if your chair becomes very close?
6. Break your state. Sit again in chair A, be yourself, and notice if anything has changed in your thoughts about the other person.
7. As necessary, feel free to repeat the steps of this procedure.
For a wizard, everything can come easy. A wizard has no need to struggle like a muggle. Understanding materials, fasteners, tools, leverage and inertia makes you a true wizard of the real world. Whereas a ‘regular’ person may pull, push, and make a big production out of something like a stuck bolt, the wizard just takes care of it. You may never be a mechanic, carpenter, or the kind of person who regularly handles tools, but you’ll still find plenty of occasions where understanding the things our man-made world is composed of will be greatly useful.
The common understanding of aluminum, steel, and other metals is that they are strong, rock-hard, more-or-less unchangeable.
From now on, perhaps you can think of steel as more like modeling clay. Just really cold modeling clay, so it is mostly solid. But with enough force, or heat, it is very much like clay indeed. You can bend and form steel quite a bit, if you can apply enough strength. The only exception is springy steel, which acts more like rubber than clay, unless you push it past its limits.
Steel is mostly iron with carbon and other elements mixed in. Depending on the recipe, steel can be soft or hard, springy or not, and prone to rusting or not. But in the big picture, it’s all modeling clay.
Can you imagine rubbing two pieces of modeling clay against each other? They’ll stick and deform, won’t they? Guess what? So will steel. That’s why a bit of oil or grease makes steel parts in contact run so much smoother and last longer.
Imagine that you have two pieces of clay, one a bit softer than the other, and the soft one is shaped like a knife. If you try to cut through the hard clay with the soft knife, what’s going to happen? Right! So you can only cut steel with a harder grade of steel. If you use a soft steel knife to slice butter, no problem. If you use a soft steel knife to slice glass – well, you get the idea.
Aluminum is like steel, but tends to have a slightly more whitish tint, and seldom polishes to a shine. It weighs less than steel and is generally softer. It too, is a bit like modeling clay, but when you apply enough force, it tends to tear. It is a sort of junky clay.
Plastic comes in many forms. The two natural divisions are plastics that can melt, and those that will not melt. The ones that melt are usually more flexible at room temperature. Plastics, like steel, can come from recipes with varying properties.
Glass, too, is modeling clay. Just imagine a sheet of very, very cold clay. If you hit a sheet of frozen clay, it will break, just like glass. If you hit a very hot sheet of glass, just like clay, it will merely bend.
An aside: Did you know that if you break a window, the cracks progress outward at 3,000 miles per hour (4,000 kph)?
Wood is not modeling clay. It has a grain. If you look at wood, you’ll see lines. It is ten times stronger against the grain than with it. If you look at a wooden baseball bat, you’ll see the grain runs the long way. Try to imagine a bat made with the grain running in concentric circles from one end to the other, as if the bat was carved from a core drilled horizontally through a tree. Can you picture that? Imagine hitting a baseball with that bat? What would happen? Right. The bat would break instantly.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because the wizard develops a feel for materials and so knows a lot about handling them.
Let’s say you have a thin stick of wood laying across two chairs placed a short distance apart. If you were to hit that stick with a hammer, using lots of little strokes, it probably wouldn’t break. Yet if you take a big swing, it will break. That’s because you have built up inertia in the head of the hammer. When you get some weight in motion, it wants to stay in motion. The wood can’t stop it. That’s why an experienced carpenter grips the hammer by the end of the handle, and takes a few big strokes rather than lots of little ones. It is much easier to get things done.
Where else can you build up inertia? How about in your body? You’ve probably seen movies where someone is trying to break open a door and bumps into it from a foot (30 cm) away. Nothing happens, except the person’s shoulder may get hurt. The next person takes a running start at the door, and hits it from ten feet away. Then the door is blown off its hinges and falls to the floor, yet the person who broke it down is unhurt.
Putting inertia and understanding of materials together, you can understand how a Karate wizard breaks a board. First, he arranges it so the angle of the grain is at its weakest. In fact, he has purchased boards made from a type of wood that is known to have weak grain. Then, he doesn’t just tap it with his hand. He takes a great swing, and breaks the board effortlessly.
Things that are stationary want to remain stationary. Things that are in motion want to stay in motion. Furthermore, they want to keep going in the same direction they are already moving.
When you think about it, it is obvious. That’s why it is so much work to get your bike going, and why your car tires screech when you go around a turn too fast.
You can start applying your new awareness of inertia in all sorts of everyday situations.
For instance: A car with a flat tire. One of the lug nuts is stuck, and no matter how hard a non-wizard might push on the wrench, it won’t turn. You can kick or jump on the wrench with your foot, employing the inertia of your leg, foot and shoe.
Once you get a heavy refrigerator moving, it ought to be easy to keep it moving, until you have taken it all the way to the far side of the kitchen. If you start and stop several times, it will be much more work. With a refrigerator you may need some lubrication, however. You can imagine that the ‘clay’ feet of the refrigerator want to stick to the ‘clay’ of the floor. Remember, “everything is modeling clay.” So, you can put a few drops of water and dish soap on the floor at the refrigerator’s feet, and voila, it slides easily.
In a baseball game, the non-wizard hits the ball out to third base with a typical swing of the bat. The wizard winds up further, grips the bat a bit closer to the knob, and takes a mighty swing utilizing not just arms, but putting the wizard’s whole body into the swing. One of two things is going to happen. The wizard might strike out, just like anyone else. But if the wizard hits that ball, it’s going out of the stadium!
Fractures and Holes
We live in an imperfect world. Many things have fractures and holes. No doubt you already realize how much a fracture weakens an item. You can use this to your advantage. If you want to divide an item, you might as well expand the fracture, rather than trying to create a new one from scratch. Furthermore, you can apply inertia. The other day, I saw a muggle (non-wizard) try to separate a garden hose that was cut almost all the way through. He pulled on the ends, but it didn’t break. Then a wizard grabbed the hose, pulled fast and hard, using the inertia of his arms. The hose snapped easily in two. This is how phone books are torn in two by people demonstrating strength. They realize that the outer edge of a page is a bit rough, essentially a line of fractures. The phone book is always torn toward the spine, taking advantage of the edge fractures.
The muggle struggles with putting a wood screw into a board. The wizard drills a hole, or pounds a nail just a short way into the board first, creating a hole, puts a little oil on the screw, and has no problem at all.
Even if a wizard doesn’t know much, hasn’t acquired many skills, that wizard can be quite helpful by carrying a little pack containing a roll of tape, a bit of wire, some glue (5-minute Epoxy), an adjustable wrench, a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, a pair of scissors, a magnifying glass, a smartphone, a pen, some paper, a little flashlight, and a few other items.
The muggle looks at the situation at hand and takes action. The wizard, looks at the situation at hand, takes time to imagine possible outcomes, then takes action. The wizard is not opposed to looking things up. There are service manuals for just about everything on the web, and most are free. Wikipedia is a great place to find out about materials, tools, repair procedures and more.
I found the following in a book published in 1858: “An English gentleman, traveling some years ago in Ireland, took a hammer and tacks with him, because he found dog’s-eared carpets at all the inns where he rested. At one of these inns he tacked down the carpet which, as usual, was loose near the door, and soon afterward, rang for his dinner. While the carpet was loose the door could not be opened without a hard push: so when the waiter came up, he just unlatched the door, and then going back a couple of yards, he rushed against it, as his habit was, with a sudden spring to force it open. But the wrinkles of the carpet were no longer there to stop it, and not meeting with the expected resistance, the unfortunate waiter fell full sprawl into the room. It had never entered his head that so much trouble might be saved by means of a hammer and half-a-dozen tacks, until his fall taught him that make-shift is a very unprofitable kind of shift.”
How many times have you heard, “You are what you eat?”
I’m going to propose that, “You do what you eat.”
What I’m getting at here is that you can control a big aspect of your life by changing your eating habits. When I was 16 years old, I spent a lot of time sitting on the lawn, challenging my friends to do what I would have done if I had the energy. Oh, there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, sometimes I did have the energy, but when I did, it was often too much. Like most 16-year-olds, I was addicted to sugar. It is easy to do in our society. Our well-meaning parents introduce it to us from a very early age. Processed sugar is in most baby foods. In everything we see, everything we’re told, we are taught that ‘sweet’ is good, and that sugary foods are a reward. Having eaten more sugar than can fit in the trunk of a car by our teens, it is no surprise that we expect sugar in every meal, and for all the snacks in-between. We even learn that to eat a candy bar before an athletic event gives us more energy for a little while. We want sugar in our morning coffee to wake us up properly.
Don’t you wonder what would happen if we quit using sugar for a while? Would we die? No. Would we crave it for a while? Most likely. But while we are craving the missing sugar, somehow, oddly, our energy would even out. Once the body learns to regulate its own sugar again, we seem to have more energy, consistently, throughout the day. And, doesn’t a good wizard deserve the energy to think clearly, and take the actions that the wizard wants to take? Of course!
But what about that addition situation? It was our first addition, so it is the one we’ve had the longest. Good news, if you can remember the reason, it is not so hard to give up. Even though it is a long addition, it is not a particularly strong addiction. You see there is natural sugar in fruit, meat, even a little bit in salads. We don’t need more. We’ve just come to believe we do. The sugar that’s added is more processed than what’s naturally in our foods. It’s digestion is dealt with immediately, causing a quick, steep increase in blood sugar levels – taxing the body. So, after consuming white sugar, we can get all crazy-hyper for a while, then our energy crashes and then we can get sleepy. And what good is a sleepy wizard?
There are five good tricks a wizard can utilize to overcome any addiction, including sugar:
1. Remember the reason you want to quit. I mean, really feel it. In the case of sugar, it might be because you want more stable and consistent energy. Or it might be about weight reduction. Or longer, healthier life, or to prevent diabetes or tooth decay. Or maybe just to be free of an addiction. I’m sure you have your reasons.
2. Find a substitute. If you were trying to give up smoking, you might learn to play a flute, saxophone, recorder or trumpet. When the urge comes to put something in your mouth, why not put something creative in your mouth? Oddly, with only a couple minutes of substitution, you usually forget the original craving. In the case of sugar, you might find that apples, bananas, oranges, peaches, carrots, or other foods make an adequate substitute.
3. Change your environment. Get into a situation where sugar isn’t constantly invading your consciousness. If you have a friend who is always offering you ice cream, stay away from that friend for a while, or ask the friend to please stop offering ice cream.
4. Give it 30 days. Overcoming an addiction is hardest in the first 30 days. If you can get past those first four and a half weeks, what you have learned to do instead becomes the norm. The day comes when an apple is much more appealing than a Three Musketeers bar. To prevent a relapse, go back to Step 1 from time to time. If you do have a relapse, have no concern. Most of the time you’re doing great. Relapses will be fewer and farther between.
5. Revel in what you have done! You can start bringing apples to your friends. Tell them what you’ve done, and why. They can be proud of you – or they may be jealous. They may feel your presence compels them to quit also, and they may not be ready for that. Are you a truly strong wizard? Must be you are, because you are able to easily give up sugar. So, who is going to influence who? Are your friends going to sabotage your sugar recovery, or are you going to help them become wizard-like, as you have done?
Knowing this about chocolate might help: The FDA considers chocolate acceptable for public consumption as long as there are less than 60 microscopic insect fragments per 100 grams (four ounces, or approximately one candy bar).
Charles Darwin, the evolutionary theorist, cured his snuff habit by keeping his snuffbox in the basement and the key for the snuffbox in the attic.
This is a technique borrowed for wizards from the world of NLP,
to help a friend or client (who we’ll call the ‘recipient’ here) eliminate an unwanted feeling, behavior, or response.
This is a cognitive technique, meaning there is no need to specifically elicit beliefs established in early childhood, and so is safe and easy to perform. It is not essential to get everything just right. If you do it with the positive intention to be helpful, it will most often work out just fine.
Step 1. Clearly identify the unwanted behavior. For instance, “when I get off work, the first thing I do is reach for a beer. I can’t seem to stop doing that.” It is not necessary for the recipient to tell the wizard the exact details, as long as the wizard can discover by the recipient’s physiology – the way the recipient holds the body, facial expressions, breathing, an so on, that an understanding of what’s unwanted is clear.
Step 2. Establish a context in which the recipient can communicate with the ‘part’ of the subconscious that is creating the unwanted behavior. It can be very useful to allow the recipient to build a metaphorical environment. For example, you may have your recipient imagine being in a meeting hall or auditorium. The recipient is onstage, behind a podium with a microphone, with big, slightly musty-smelling curtains to the sides, and calls to order a meeting of all the recipient’s parts. The recipient may imagine the parts having a certain look, they may all be the same, or all different. They may like anatomical items, or animals, or delegates at a convention. They may be sitting neatly in rows, or all over the place, maybe even hanging from the light fixtures, and so on. The recipient is often instructed to address all the parts with great deference, since the recipient will be asking for some changes that the parts may not initially want. Such change is much easier to bring about in a calm, respectful atmosphere, even and especially if among the parts of one’s own subconscious. By making a rather big point of this politeness, the recipient is much more likely to stay in the metaphor.
Step 3. After establishing communication with the part that’s causing the unwanted behavior, discover that part’s positive intention. Remember, that behind every behavior is a positive intention. It may not be a behavior that is currently useful in the big picture, but for that part, at one time, the behavior had a positive value.
Step 4. Assure the recipient that s/he has creative parts, and ask those parts to help out by coming up with three alternative ways to accomplish the intended outcome.
Step 5. Set up a discussion in which the part that created the unwanted behavior can find one of these solutions acceptable. You might have the recipient tell the part that it’s not being demoted, fired, or eliminated. It’s just being given an opportunity to try something different that might be a delightful new way to maintain participation, with options besides the one that caused the unwanted behavior.
Step 6. Bring the recipient out of the metaphorical trance. Ask the recipient to imagine a time in the near future – to really step into the the time with feeling, seeing, hearing, maybe even smelling and tasting, and determine how it seems. Watch the recipient’s physiology. This may complete the process. Or, you may need to creatively repeat steps 2 through 5 until the recipient’s outcome is resolved.
Much has been written on the Internet about Six Step Reframing. You might enjoy reading:
The Six Step Reframe Technique
6 (Six) Step Reframe
NLP Six Step Reframe
Wikipedia- Cognitive Reframing
NLP Technique – Six Step Reframing
Many pictures of wizards show them wearing glasses. Professor Dumbledore wore glasses, as did Harry Potter. For many wizards however, glasses, or contacts, will no longer be necessary. I believe Harry liked wearing glasses, because he could probably overcome his vision limitation easily, whenever he chose to.
Almost everyone believes that corrective lenses are the only way to deal with poor vision. People who buy into this often wear clunky apparatus on their faces for years. Others put up with contacts or scary procedures performed on their corneas. Let’s see where this belief comes from, then consider a new way to look at it. Maybe there’s a better option.
For more than a century, doctors have been telling us that the little ring of material that holds the lens is a muscle. See #15 in the first picture. They tell us that we focus by using this ring to pull on the lens, stretching it, Imagine that! That little ring does all the work!
Now, consider the large group of muscles behind the eye, as shown in a simplified view in the second picture. It doesn’t show the entire mass of muscle that’s there. Those muscles are what turns the eye from side to side and up and down. What if they could work in unison to squeeze the eye? That would be a much better way to change focus, wouldn’t it?
If that turns out to be how we focus, then it would also make sense that we could
exercise those muscles, just like any other muscles, and refine our ability. That’s what I have done. All four of my grandparents wore glasses. Both of my parents wore glasses all their lives. My sister wears glasses. Yet, I don’t.
About 20 years ago, I started to have trouble seeing clearly at a distance. ‘Time for
glasses,’ I thought. Then I happened across a book by a Dr. William Bates, called “The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses,” written in 1929. His book was rather complex, nebulous, generally hard to understand. But I did get the general idea, and started doing some exercises. And guess what? My vision improved entirely! Ten years later, my vision started to fail for seeing up close. I did more exercises, and it has come back almost entirely. My vision is really quite good, and I am far from needing glasses. Do I have scientific studies to back up my claim? No, all I can claim is that my vision improved. Actually, I do have a little more anecdotal evidence. I published a freeware program way back in the pre-Windows (DOS) days that contained some eye exercises. I received a few dozen letters (before email) from people telling me that the exercises worked. There wasn’t one letter saying they didn’t work.
So. I leave it up to you. You can play with these exercises and see if they’ll work for you. I would recommend that you first check with an eye care professional, to make sure that you are not one of those rare individuals who needs medical attention for a serious vision problem. So…
If you have trouble seeing up close, do these exercises with close objects. The right distance is where things are just hard to see clearly. No so far away that they are clear, and not so close that they are way out of focus.
If you have trouble seeing at a distance, you’ll want to get as far away from the exercise object as you can, without being so far away that you can’t see it just because it is too small. The good news is that anything from about ten feet away is pretty much the same as infinite distance, so if you are in a small room, it will still be useful even if all you can do is stand across the room.
#1. Rub your hands together vigorously until the palms are quite warm, then press them gently over your eyes as they cool. Do this two or three times. This has a calming effect, You have probably already noticed that you can see more clearly when you are calm than otherwise.
#2. Look at something distant for perhaps five seconds, then something close for five seconds. Do this two or three times. It doesn’t matter if you see them clearly or not. You’re just stretching your ability to change focus. Do this with both eyes together, then with one eye gently covered, then the other.
#3. For those who would like to improve distant vision, look at a distant object that has a clean vertical line such as a telephone pole. For those who want to improve close vision, look at something with a clearly defined vertical edge, such as the letter I or the edge of a sheet of paper. Do not strain to see this vertical edge, Just let it be as clear as it will, nothing more is required. Do this for just a few seconds, first with both eyes, then with one eye gently covered, then the other covered.
That’s all there is to it!
Here’s where the magic comes in: For this to really work, you’ve got to do it ten times a day. They can be random times – whenever you think of it. Since these exercises take only a few minutes, ten times a day should be easy. But, if you do it ten times a day, you’ll probably discover, as I did, that the improvement comes quickly. Sometimes within just a week or two.
About your specs: You’ve come to depend on your glasses or contacts. You really, truly don’t want to do these exercises while wearing your glasses. In fact, you’ll probably do best to start removing your glasses as much as you can – all day, every day, to the extent that you can. Of course, you’ll want to wear them for driving and any time safety is an issue. And, if you need to read, or do continuous work that would give you a headache or other symptoms without glasses, then by all means, wear them. However, as much as you can, if you just let yourself see as clearly as you can without your glasses – without straining, this can help your vision improve tremendously.
So where am I now? My distant vision is perfect. I can read easily, and see close work well, without glasses, of course. However my left eye is a bit weaker. And, for close work like threading a needle, I do want a lot of light. I will admit that I haven’t been doing the exercises lately, and am rather convinced that if I start doing them again, my left eye strength will come back entirely, and with either eye, I’ll be able to see very close, even in darker conditions.
What are the limits? I’ve seen young children studying bugs from four inches away. I’ve heard that a teenage girl in South America was able to look at Jupiter without any sort of equipment, and draw an accurate picture of the locations of the four largest moons.
I have created some super-simple interactive, enjoyable and free eye exercises at www.odd50.com/eyes.php.
Emile Coue (1857-1926) of France told people to say to themselves 20 times in a row, twice a day: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” This has actually cured thousands of people of an assortment of minor and major ills.
In French if you prefer, “Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux.”
Try it, it can’t hurt you (unless somebody overhears, but then you can do it silently), and it might just work to get you over the flu, a toothache, minor depression, whatever is bothering you.
This is a serious suggestion. Scientists have proven beyond doubt that people can improve their health with a positive mental attitude. In hospitals across the globe, cancer patients are now being taught to mentally picture (or actually draw pictures of) their cells surrounding and eating tumors.
So much of our language expresses negative experiences. What would happen if we started using positive words to describe things?
Going a step further:
It has been studied and documented that we hear thirty-two items of criticism for each item of praise! It starts when we are babies, “Oooh, your diapers stink!” or “Can’t you keep out of trouble for even one minute?” Sure, we may not have known what the words meant, but even as babies, we felt the emotions behind those words. We grew up with much more negative input than positive. It is no surprise that we do the same thing to our friends, associates, and children.
What if it were reversed? What if you started offering genuine praise to anyone and everyone, every time you see something praiseworthy?
At first, people would probably think you flipped. But they would also enjoy the compliments. Eventually, they may catch on, or maybe they’d just start following your example, because people do tend to emulate what surrounds them.
The big picture results are obvious. Eventually we’d have a world in which everyone hears how well they do things, how nice they look, how their presence is so enjoyable, and so on. And, these people would have more confidence in themselves.
>Would they? Of course. If from a young age, you were told that you we’re of value, and that you can accomplish what you like, you’d make the effort. You’d know that you can make a difference, that you can have what you want, that you deserve a good life, that it is worth your time to practice your skills. In such a world, you’d have a much more successful and happier life. So would everyone, and at no cost, other than the energy to open your mouth and say kind things to everyone, and hold your tongue when what you have to say is not so positive.
>Such is not the world we live in now. But you can change it yourself. Not all by yourself, but you can start it in your sphere of influence, and people will catch on. You can influence your associates, friends, and family. They will influence their associates, friends and families. Perhaps sooner than you think, everyone will start doing it. We’ve seen it happen with slang. Remember when “bad” meant bad? That transition happened fairly quickly. And so can this, because this too, is simply a matter of spoken words.
You may gain from this sooner than you’d think. Before the whole world changes to this new thirty-two-to-one praise to criticism ratio, it will help you in your life. As an example, if you start praising your mate much more than you scold, what will happen? Will your mate become lax? Perhaps dinner will be late, the library books will be overdue, the kitty pan won’t get changed when it should? Maybe, a little bit, at first. Can you stand it? More important, can you keep quiet, and let it happen, while you go on practicing your 32-to-1 game?
I think so, especially when you know that soon your mate will start copying you, consciously or not. Then, you’ll start feeling good when your loved one tells you that your hair looks nice, or that you are such a great cook, rather than telling you that the lawn needs mowing really bad. Imagine a peaceful home life, where you know your mate likes the way you look, the way you cook, where you feel no pressure to mow the lawn right now. Why, you’d probably want to mow that lawn, just because you’ll get praise for it.
Let’s look at the bigger picture. It is a smaller world than you think. Within seven levels of acquaintance, almost everyone knows everyone else. This means that you may have a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend, and so on, who knows David Letterman, Miley Cyrus, Barack Obama, and so on. So, you can influence these people, and all people. Practice 32-to-1, and soon your friends will be doing it, and their friends will be doing it, and eventually politicians will be doing it, and we’ll have no more wars.
For best results, make sure your praise is always sincere. Contrived praise is embarrassing for giver and receiver.
Some people have a hard time receiving compliments, after all they don’t get them very often. Therefore, at first, keep your compliments small and simple, using only a few carefully chosen words.
People are more comfortable with compliments about things they are not known for. The professional musician would rather hear that you respect her political views, than that she plays her instrument well.
Another way to comfortably praise people is to offer compliments which they don’t have to work to acknowledge. If you praise someone noisily in a group of people, the recipient then feels he has to offer some sort of thanks, or deny it, equally loudly. On the other hand, if you slip praise into the middle of a paragraph, then the recipient can have the compliment without obligation. Here’s an example:
“John, Sally’s a great cook, look what she did with this potato salad! Sally, is there any more in the kitchen?”
Relayed praise is the best of all, worth ten times as much as direct praise. For instance, if you wrote a song that I liked, but Fred told you that he enjoyed it when I played it for him, you’d be more pleased than if I simply told you I liked the song, right?
Relayed praise can be amplified even further, if it comes from someone noted in the field. If I showed your song to a famous songwriter, who then told you it was really excellent, that would be even better than if plain old Fred said so.
Asking someone for their opinion or experiences is always a great way to let them know your respect their thoughts. And again, if done in the presence of others, the effect is magnified.
Be on the lookout for backhanded compliments. There is a strong temptation to say something like, “I really admire your intelligence. That’s why it surprises me that you have so little understanding of our budget.” This is not a compliment. We know that but we are so used to correcting, offering critique, that if we don’t pay attention, these things slip out.
A good test is to see if you plan to gain anything when you praise someone. If you decide that you have nothing to gain, you aren’t trying to get someone to fix your flat tire, to change into a better looking outfit or to clean up their room, then your compliment is probably a good one.
Gossip currently follows the same thirty-two-to-one ratio. Gossip hurts the people who do it, almost more than the people about whom they talk. The reason is that someone who gossips can’t be trusted. Therefore, as their reputation builds, they are trusted with less and less information. Really severe gossips have few quality friends, because they have a hard time finding people desperate enough to risk spending time with them.
My recommendation with gossip, then, is to reverse its ratio also. Thirty-two times more often than you negatively gossip, look for good things you can tell others about your friends, family and associates.
“I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.” – Benjamin Franklin. If it worked for him, it can work for us.
“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth the greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” – Charles Schwab, who was paid a million dollars per year for his management skills.
When the trucking company PIE renamed their truckers, warehouse men and clerical workers “craftsmen,” they raised their pride and cut a sixty percent rate of shipping mistakes down to ten percent. This simple change in terminology saves the company $250,000 per year.
Children are mini-wizards. They are just like us, but have less experience. With less experience, they don’t have some of the skills we have developed, such as the ability to make sensible decisions. Due to having less experience (and more imagination), they are also more likely to accept as possibilities situations in which us older wizards all too often automatically assume are impossible.
This chapter contains some random thoughts on working with children.
Expect success from children. Treat them with respect and kindness. Do not talk about alternatives, because most children will analyze what you have said. With enough time, alternatives you have presented such as “if you don’t practice your flute, you’ll never make the school band,” start to look attractive.
“Whether a school has or has not a special method for teaching long division is of on significance, for long division is of no importance except to those who want to learn it. And the child who wants to learn long division will learn it no matter how it is taught.” – A. S. Neill, founder of Summerhill, a school with no curriculum.
It is tempting for kids to drop out of school. Who would want to finish school if their plans are only to build race cars or marry somebody rich? But sometimes plans don’t work out as expected. More importantly, school is free, supported by taxpayers. It’s free! You might as well take as much as you can get.
When children throw tantrums, they are truly miserable – it’s not just an act, usually. So it is in everyone’s best interest if you can break the tantrum habit quickly. One of the best ways to prevent tantrums – especially in public places – is to distract the child when the tantrum starts. For instance, lifting the child onto your shoulders, showering the kid with sudden extra hugging, or talking about an upcoming trip to the zoo will sidetrack the attention currently being focused on a frustration.
If possible before the school year starts, let a child play with others who will be in the same class so that the child will have friends on the first days of school.
Do your children have a hard time getting up in the morning? Get them up a half-hour earlier than they are used to. The biggest thing that keeps them in bed is that they are not looking forward to starting the day with the frantic morning rush to get ready for school in time. With this rush eliminated, it will feel nice to get up leisurely. Of course, getting them to bed early helps tremendously, also. By the way, this works well for you too – perhaps go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier and enjoy the morning!
How do you get them to eat enough vegetables? One way is to make the vegetables unavoidable. Finely chopped up broccoli makes a nice addition to hamburgers. Try other vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, etc. You can also ‘hide’ a variety of veggies in your home-made pizza topping by blending them up with tomato sauce. You can mix lots of small bits of spinach with scrambled eggs. Sweet rice with salad bits is still sweet rice.
Is your child attached to a security object such as a teddy bear or blanket that’s getting quite dirty? See if you can get a duplicate. You can alternately clean one and then the other without the child noticing the difference.
Try cutting bits off the blanket from time to time until it gradually shrinks so small that the child looses interest.
We all know what it is to be in a bind. You want to go to a concert, but your husband wants to go to a basketball game. If you insist on the concert, he will not be happy. But if you go to the game, you will not be happy.
A double-bind is like a bind, but generally has a specific context. The recipient of the double-bind is a child, employee, or someone that for the purposes of this discussion might be considered inferior to the issuer – a parent, teacher, or employer.
A double-bind can have two choices that are both spoken: such as “tell me exactly what happened, and don’t act like a child.”
Or, a part of the bind can be implied by the environment, situation, or even the recipients internal state or imagination.
For example, a parent may be asking a child to tell the truth while looking disgustedly at the child over the top of reading glasses.
A double-bind usually carries an emotional confusion. The recipient finds responding appropriately to the double-bind especially difficult since real or imagined consequences can be strong enough to interrupt logical thinking.
Psychiatrist Milton H Erickson, known as the father of modern hypnotherapy, often used a more positive form of double-bind, in which he might tell a client something like, ‘don’t even begin to imagine. . .’ He was also adept at recognizing implicit double-binds in a client’s life, and reframing the situation so the client had new choices.
The founders of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) were particularly impressed with Milton Erickson’s work. They combined a new understanding of double-binds with several other of Dr. Erickson’s techniques and called it the ‘Milton Model.’
The NLP version is simpler. It is a hypnotic suggestion offering two choices. Each choice includes an implied requirement. In speaking with a child, a parent might say, “Do you want to clean up your room before or after the movie?” In this double-bind, the child’s focus is drawn away from the requirement of cleaning the room, and has only to choose between watching the movie before or after. One could say that this is opposite of Dr. Erickson’s version of double-bind, because it actually makes it easier for the recipient to reach a decision by suppressing the requirement from logical thinking. Another version might involve a salesperson asking a customer, “Would you like that sent by UPS or Fed Ex?” before signing the contract. This subdues the big decision about buying the product, by causing an internal state in which the customer has already assumed the purchase, and has only to make the simple decision about delivery.
In a wizardry session, a double-bind might take a form like this: “So you have the one new detail that you can think about later today, or whenever your mind brings it back to you.”
Would you like to read about triple-binds now, or after you have a minute to digest double-binds?
A triple-bind is a situation recently discovered in research reported by Dan Ariely that is similar to the NLP version of a double-bind, but offers a third choice. The third choice is similar to one of the other two, but has a quality that is less desirable. The effect is to cause the recipient to accept the choice that is most like the undesirable one. For instance, you could have:
A. A new Prius with all options including GPS for $45,000.
B. A new Prius with all options except GPS for $44.995.
C. A new Prius with no options for $32,000.
The salesperson is going to make a much bigger commission if the buyer selects the $45,000 version over the $32,000 version. Without option B, most buyers may select the $32,000 version. But option B makes option A, the $45,000 version, look much more attractive. Statistical research proves that the buyer will most often select option A.
Dr. David Weeks, a psychologist has studied eccentric people extensively. He has discovered that eccentric people are typically more intelligent and have a better sense of humor than the average population. They are healthier, visiting the doctor only 1/24 as often as typical folks, and live from five to ten years longer than average! When asked about their happiness, eccentrics report that they are quite happy.
But with you being a wizard, I don’t have to tell you about the attributes of eccentricity. There are seven billion people on earth. If they all do what the others are doing, they’ll get the same results the others are getting. That’s all fine and well. No one has to do more. We do not have to do anything more with our time on Earth than to eat, sleep, and watch television. That’s really OK. But those who are wizards might want to do more with their lives. The only way to really stand out is to do things differently. In “Fiddler on the Roof”, Tevye is very caught up in tradition. That movie may cause one to re-think the qualities of tradition.
Now you may be thinking of some people you know who are eccentric. Their attributes may not all be positive. There’s Helen down the street, who has 20 cats. There’s Jeremy, who’s crazy for pickleball – that’s all he can talk about. There’s Monica who goes on, and on, and on, about nutrition.
My kind of eccentric person isn’t born that way. Isn’t compelled by some semi-sane notions. This is a person who makes deliberate choices to do what s/he feels is right, even though much of the public may not agree. The positive eccentric is not disruptive. Doesn’t break the law without very good reason, and doesn’t harm others or self.
The positive eccentric decides to set out as a professional clarinetist even though the ‘sensible’ thing would be to become an accountant. (There’s always room for the accountant gig later, if music doesn’t work out.) The positive eccentric learns all she can about Bushnell’s Turtle, a Revolutionary War submarine, even though everyone around her is anti-war (because she finds it fascinating). The positive eccentric takes up badminton rather than soccer (because it is an interesting, unusual sport). The positive eccentric learns as much of the ways of a wizard as possible (so as to be a genuinely helpful citizen). These are all sane decisions.
Positive eccentricity can also be considered thinking outside the box. It leads to places where ordinary thinking cannot go. For instance, a bookstore in San Francisco was frequently critiqued by the customers because it was rather dark, especially in the back, out of the way shelves. So, the owner took that and ran with it. One night he had a ‘midnight sale’ in which he turned out all the lights and handed out flashlights to the customers. This brought him so much free publicity that people are still talking about it 20 years later.
A local computer repair person decided he likes Apple computers, and that’s that. He did not work on Windows machines. He filmed a commercial in which he dropped a Mac, and a Windows computer off the roof of a 6-story building. Then he showed the results. The Windows computer was smashed to bits. The Mac had a little scratch on a corner. Of course he faked these, but the eccentric commercial won him almost all of the Mac repair business in town.
You might enjoy starting to look for ways to be positively eccentric. Any time anyone does anything, you might ask, “Is there a different way?” In most cases, the way things are done has evolved over time to be the best, the most efficient, or the most appreciated. But every now and then, if you simply ask, “Is there a different way,” surprising answers can appear. Then, if it seems you have come up with something new, you might ask, “Why do people do it the usual old way?” This could shoot down your great idea, but it might also help you discover a variation that is truly new, and worth pursuing.
For instance, you might want to sell something on eBay. Many people list their item at a fixed price, and wait, sometimes for a very long time. Others use the classic auction format. You might wonder if there are any alternatives.
You might ask, “Why do people list items at a low price, and hope that bidders will raise the price?” Then, you might say, “What if that was turned around? What if I list a thing starting at a very high price on eBay, and then lower the price every day or two, until someone buys it?” Using this reverse auction idea, you’ll get the maximum possible value for your item, but within a reasonable amount of time.
Interestingly, positive eccentricity is attractive. When you think of the celebrities that you are truly attracted to, most are eccentric in some positive ways, aren’t they?
Don’t be surprised if instead of being afraid of eccentricity, you find yourself embracing it.
The following comes from a book of advice and trivia written in the mid-nineteenth century. Enjoy the language and concepts:
“Hints on etiquette: There are numberless writers upon this subject, from Chesterfield to Willis, but the great fault with all of them is, that their works are designed exclusively for the bon ton. They are very well for those who spend their whole lives in the fashionable circles; but if a plain unpretending man or woman were to follow their directions, they would only make themselves ridiculous.
In view of this fact, I now present a few plain directions fashioned not after an imaginary model, but upon the world as it is. I address only sensible persons, and expect them to be satisfied with such rules and principles as shall form well-bred men and women, and not coxcombs and dandies. My directions are the result of my own observation and experience, and may be relied upon as being the actual practices of respectable people, both in this country and Europe; for the manners of well-bred people are the same in all parts of the world.
In all your associations, keep constantly in view the adage, “too much freedom breeds contempt.”
Never be guilty of practical jokes; if you accustom yourself to them, it is probable you will become so habituated as to commit them upon persons who will not allow of such liberties: I have known a duel to arise from a slap on the back.
If there be another chair in the room, do not offer a lady that from which you have just risen.
Always suspect the advances of any person who may wish for your acquaintance, and who has had no introduction: circumstances may qualify this remark, but as a general principle, acquaintances made in a public room or place of amusement are not desirable.
Never converse while a person is singing; it is an insult not only to the singer but to the company.
The essential part of good breeding is the practical desire to afford pleasure, and to avoid giving pain. Any man possessing this desire, requires only opportunity and observation to make him a gentleman.
Always take off your hat when handing a lady to her carriage, or the box of a theatre, or a public room.
If, in a public promenade, you pass and re-pass persons of you acquaintance, it is only necessary to salute them on the first occasion.
Do not affect singularity of dress by wearing anything that is so conspicuous as to demand attention; and particularly avoid what I believe I must call the ruffian style.
Never lose your temper at cards, and particularly avoid the exhibition of anxiety or vexation at want of success. If you are playing whist, not only keep your temper, but hold your tongue; any intimation to you partner is decidedly ungentlemanly.
Let presents to a young lady be characterized by taste, not remarkable for intrinsic value.
Except under very decided circumstances, it is both ungentlemanly and dangerous to cut a person: if you wish to rid yourself of any one’s society, a cold bow in the street, and particular ceremony in the circles of your mutual acquaintance, is the best mode of conduct to adopt.
Never introduce your own affairs for the amusement of a company, it shows a sad want of mental cultivation, or excessive weakness of intellect: recollect, also, that such a discussion cannot be interesting to others, and that the probability is that the most patient listener is a complete gossip, laying the foundation for some tale to make you appear ridiculous.
When you meet a gentleman with whom you are acquainted, you bow raising your hat slightly with he left hand, which leaves your right at liberty to shake hands if you stop. If the gentleman is ungloved, you must take off yours, not otherwise.
Meeting a lady, the rule is that she should make the first salute, or at least indicate by her manner that she recognizes you. Your bow must be lower, and your hat carried further from your head; but you never offer to shake hands; that is her privilege.
The right, being the post of honor, is given to superiors and ladies, except in the street, when they take the wall, as farthest from danger from passing carriages, in walking with or meeting them.
In walking with a lady, you are not bound to recognize gentlemen with whom she is not acquainted, nor have they, in such a case, any right to salute, much less to speak to you.
Whenever or wherever you stand, to converse with a lady, or while handing her into or out of a carriage, keep your hat in your hand.
Should her shoe become unlaced, or her dress in any manner disordered, fail not to apprise her of it, respectfully, and offer your assistance. A gentleman may hook a dress or lace a shoe with perfect propriety, and should be able to do so gracefully.
Whether with a lady or gentleman, a street talk should be a short one; and in either case, when you have passed the customary compliments, if you wish to continue the conversation, you must say, “Permit me to accompany you.”
Don’t sing, hum, whistle, or talk to yourself, in walking. Endeavor, besides being well dressed, to have a calm good-natured countenance. A scowl always begets wrinkles. It is best not to smoke at all in public but none but a ruffian in grain will inflict upon society the odor of a bad cigar, or that of any kind, on ladies.
Ladies are not allowed, upon ordinary occasions, to take the arm of any one but a relative or an accepted lover in the street, and in the day time; in the evening – in the fields, or in a crowd wherever she may need protection – she should not refuse it. She should pass her hand over the gentleman’s arm, merely, but should not walk an arm’s length apart, as country girls sometimes do. In walking with a gentleman, the step of the lady must be lengthened, and his shortened, to prevent the hobbling appearance of not keeping step. Of course, the conversation of a stranger, beyond asking a necessary question, must be considered as a gross insult and repelled with proper spirit.
Having dressed yourself, pay no further attention to your clothes. Few things look worse than a continual fussing with your attire.
Never scratch your head, pick you teeth, clean your nails, or worse than all, pick your nose in company; all these things are disgusting. Spit as little as possible, and never upon the floor.
Do not lounge on sofas nor tip back your chair, nor elevate your feet.
If you are going into the company of ladies, beware of onions, spirits and tobacco.
If you can sing or play, do so at once when requested, without requiring to be pressed or make a fuss. On the other hand, let your performance be brief, or, if ever so good it will be tiresome. When a lady sits down to the pianoforte, some gentleman should attend her, arrange the music-stool, and turn over the leaves.
Meeting friends in a public promenade, you salute them the first time in passing, and not every time you meet.
Never tattle, nor repeat in one society any scandal or personal matter you hear in another. Give your own opinion of people, if you please but never repeat that of others.
Meeting an acquaintance among strangers, in the street or a coffee-house, never address him by name. It is vulgar and annoying.”
“The art of being agreeable: The true art of being agreeable is to appear well pleased with all the company, and rather to seem well entertained with them than to bring entertainment to them. A man thus disposed, perhaps, may not have much learning, nor any wit; but if he has common sense, and something friendly in his behavior, it conciliates men’s minds more than the brightest parts without this disposition; and when a man of such a turn comes to old age, he is almost sure to be treated with respect. It is true, indeed, that we should not dissemble and falter in company: but a man may be very agreeable, strictly consistent with truth and sincerity, by a prudent silence where he cannot concur, and a pleasing assent where he can. Now and then you meet with a person so exactly formed to please, that he will gain upon every one that hears of beholds him; this disposition is not merely the gift of nature, but frequently the effect of much knowledge of the world, and a command over the passions.”
A wizard is entitled to a lot of money. After all, the wizard is likely to do good things with some of that money, don’t you think?
I have heard people express things like, “Money is the root of all evil,” or “Money maddens the mind.” Wealthy people are often referred to as “filthy rich,” and worse. Actually, the lack of money can be extremely problematic. Sadly, people who don’t have their basic survival needs met, may need to depend on the system to subsidize their food, rent and medical expenses and even feel compelled to resort to crime to get enough money. Unfortunately for them, their minds are constantly occupied with money matters, leaving them little time, energy and resources to help others.
I have known people who have been over-educated in the notion that you have to be magnanimous at all costs. I had a friend who had recently started a custom furniture making business. So far, he had few clients, and he struggled to pay his electric bill. He also had a $1,000 canceled check made out to a charity taped proudly to his filing cabinet.
I tried to explain to him that if he had invested that $1,000 in himself, in his own business, then next year, he could have issued a $10,000 check to the charity. He didn’t get it.
So, if you are a millionaire, you can help people. Guess what? Everyone can become a millionaire!
I’m going to start by tell you that a cup of coffee at Starbucks costs $26. And when you understand that, you can have a million dollars, no matter how much you have right now. As long as you are patient. . .
So what’s the secret? The missing ingredient? Time. Those who understand have found that it is easy. School teachers have done it. Janitors have done it. Fast-food workers have done it. No matter how much or how little you make, you can probably save a bit of your pay. Twenty-five percent is the amount people generally suggest. It’s called
“paying yourself first.”
Of course, for most, it won’t be easy. Somehow, we seem to adjust to our spending to approximately the amount we make – in fact, we often spend just a bit more, driving up an ever-growing credit card debt. And if you already have debt, you can’t save money until you eliminate the debt. Now, if you are in debt, I suggest you can start with an understanding
that it doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. In fact, I believe you can find some information later in this very chapter with which you can eventually pay off that debt. I have been in fairly major debt twice in my life. Once, I owed $76,000 to the credit card companies. Both times, it felt never-ending while it was happening, but both times are history now. So, once you have no debt, and can save 25 percent of your income, you can be a millionaire. It takes 20 years, but works every time. Why not start today?
I met one of the many people who have actually done it. He worked for Sears from the age of 23 until 46, repairing household appliances. That job doesn’t pay very well. Less than a teacher gets, I think. Probably about as much as a supermarket manager gets. He lived in a small apartment. Early on, he had enough cash to buy a 32-inch TV. Instead, he kept his 21-inch tabletop model. It worked just fine. He never bought a car on credit. He paid cash for the best car he could get every ten years. At first, it wasn’t much of a car. Now, every ten years, he treats himself to a brand-new $88,000 Jaguar. About two years into his experiment, he had $20,000 in a savings account. He realized he had to take the time, make the effort to learn about investing. At first, he didn’t like the idea, but he knew he had to overcome the resistance. He decided to avoid the stock market and real estate. (As a coastal California resident, he probably could have done spectacularly with
real estate.) Instead, he focused on municipal bonds because they have traditionally been very safe. It worked for him, although I might recommend a more mixed portfolio with at least some more aggressive investments.
If you look throughout history since money has been handled in an organized fashion, on average, everyone who has stuck it out for 11 years or more, has done well.
So anyway, my friend retired from Sears at age 46. He now has well over a million dollars, and the knowledge and experience to continue developing his investments.
So how do you save 25 percent up front? There are two areas in which you can make all the difference.
The first area is with small expenses. If you buy cigarettes, candy, coffee, books, or anything other habit-like product every day, look what might happen if you give it up: Let’s say that instead of stopping into Starbucks and spending around three dollars for a cup of coffee, you invest it over 20 years. Right. That cup of coffee actually costs more than $26. Do you really want to spend $26 for a cup of coffee?
The other place to watch is overheads. When you sign a one-year lease on a $1,500 a month apartment instead of a $1,200/month apartment, you are losing $3,600 per year. That’s a lot of groceries or clothes. But it’s a much larger amount of money with compound interest over 20 years. Yet, $1,500 a month doesn’t seem that much different than $1,200 when you’re apartment shopping, does it? This is even more so with mortgages. The people who tell you that your mortgage should not be more that 1/4 of
your income really know what they’re talking about. Same with car payments. Same with club memberships, subscriptions, and so on.
Let’s talk for a moment about pride. That’s what has prevented me from doing this myself. For much of my life, I have been too proud to drive a 20-year-old car. It had to be a shiny new car. I had to have the fancy phone, bicycle, TV set, and latest computer, to show my friends. I had to live in the bigger house. So, I have delayed my millionaire potential. But if pride is so important to me, wouldn’t it have been better to have done this plan with the old car and the little TV, and really, really impress my friends 20 years later? Oh, if I only knew that 20 years ago:)
Some Ways to Save Money
Avoid the temptation to buy a top-of-the-line model unless you have money to burn. In almost all categories of merchandise, the difference between the top of the line, and middle is not all that great in terms of features and quality, but very noticeable in price. Lets look at some examples: A digital camera for $250 has the same features as the $600 model. It takes fine pictures and is very reliable. The lens may be a half f-stop smaller, a very insignificant difference. You may get 30 percent less megapixels. But, how many megapixels do you need? How many can you use? The human eyes is equivalent of only 137 megapixels. If you can take an award winning picture with the $600 camera, you can take the same picture just as well with the $250 one.
How about bicycles? The middle of the line models are reasonably lightweight and reliable and cost $400. Top of the line at $3,000 is a pound lighter and actually less reliable. In fact, you may find replacement parts for the less-common top of the line machine are hard to get. Will you notice the reduced weight? Not unless you are a serious bike racer. And even if you are a racer, you may not notice the difference. I know of one racer who screwed toe clips into the rubber pedals of a 40-year-old, 38-pound three-speed bike, and won a ten-mile time trial with it just to prove this point. He also rode the race with his shorts turned inside out. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what kind of wizarding technique that was. (Hint: “Positive Eccentritity.”)
Cars? Same thing. Can a Rolls Royce carry groceries any better than a Toyota? However, for the Toyota it is easier to get parts and service.
Stereo equipment: I have a friend who has millions of dollars. He could afford anything he wants, so his sound system cost $20,000. Interestingly, I thought the treble was a bit mushy. In any case, it didn’t sound any better than my $600 system.
If at all possible, reverse your car payments. Put $300 per month in a savings account until you need to buy a new car. Then pay cash. You’ll save thousands of dollars over the cost of interest on payments.
Some Ways to Make Money
Being a wizard, you have some extra opportunities.
Here is a brief list of some positively eccentric things you can do:
Start a school, after-school program, or summer camp for children. Perhaps it can be a school for wizards and witches, perhaps as much like Hogwart’s as possible.
Teach your wizardry skills, such as Creative Listening in schools, continuing education programs or even in your living room. You can teach individually, much like a piano teacher, or to groups as large as you can imagine. The great public speaker and author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Dale Carnegie, started teaching classes in his local YMCA. He had to talk them into it. The Y was not willing to pay him as an employee, so he offered to teach on a commission basis. I believe his first class was four students. He went on to lecture to stadiums with 20,000 people.
As long as you don’t claim to cure illness, or make any claims you can’t support, you can work with individual clients. You can call yourself a wizard, or an NLP practitioner, or a lay counselor. Much of what many people need is someone who will simply listen to them. Teaching metaphorically is also an option. Not only can you work with local clients, you can also set up a website, perhaps invest a bit in Google AdWords, and get paid to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world. As your reputation grows, you can set up conference calls, being paid to speak to dozens or even hundreds of people at once. $3,000 per hour is not an outer limit.
Become a performer. If you set out to be a guitarist in a rock ‘n roll band, you may find it is a difficult task to accomplish. However, if you do something positively eccentric, you’ll find making a living can be easy, as long as you are patient. Most of these ideas are not get-rich-quick schemes. They are get-rich-slow schemes. If you put together a unicycle, magic, or juggling show, or combine some object manipulation skills with some other performance, and as long as you don’t quit your ‘day job’ until you have ‘made it,’ your income is assured. For instance, you might consider combining your skills in creative listening or metaphorical suggestion with lessons you consider important, mixed with some music, comedy, or object manipulation, and put together a show – the likes of which have never been seen. You can start by simply entertaining friends at parties. You might practice on the streets – called street performing. Be sure to check for local permit requirements, of course. While you are perfecting your act, you can pass the hat. Some street performers make more money than professionals in many other fields. I once made $1,200 in one day doing comedy juggling shows at a festival, just by passing the hat.
In Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana, I saw a man play the flute while walking around on stilts. He was earning a good living. Later that night, back in the square, a fellow had set up a telescope with a tracking mount. It was aimed at the moon. On a little table, he put up a sign that said, “Look in the telescope.” Next to the sign was a hat filled with one, five, ten, and twenty dollar bills. While he just sat there quietly reading a book with a flashlight, he was earning a living with his brilliant, positively eccentric idea. What could you do like that? I can imagine a table set up with little science or mechanical demonstrations of some sort.
For instance, do you know about phenolphthalein? This is an inexpensive chemical that you can dissolve in water. If you a add little bit of alkaline such as baking powder in the water, it turns to bright red. Put in some acid, such as vinegar, and it turns back to clear. By making up some sort of accompanying story, perhaps referring to your process as ‘alchemy’ and the red liquid that appears and as ‘blood,’ you can create a very entertaining effect. You can get phenolphthalein at many drug stores since it is sometimes used as a laxative, or buy it here.. A quick search of the Internet ought to turn up all sorts of kitchen chemistry that you can use for entertainment.
A wizard can get paid to give things away. The idea is you get together a collection of whatever interests you. It might be books, bicycle parts, clothes, you name it. You can start an exchange in the trunk of your car, and in time develop it into an enterprise as big as a large warehouse. The idea is you give these things away, but at the same time, you ask for donations of similar things. You don’t need to require that people donate an equal amount. In fact, it is better if you don’t regulate that. People who have extra, books, bike parts, or whatever will be so enamored with what you’re doing, they’ll donate far more stuff than others carry away. Having set up three free exchanges, I know this for a fact. Here’s the book I wrote a book about it here.
So how do you make money with a free exchange? Some of the things that come in will be out of print, rare, collectible, or particularly valuable to people in specialized pursuits. These can be sold on eBay, Amazon or other online venues to support your good work of recycling merchandise, thereby reducing manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of new items. Even though you can make a tidy profit doing this, the public will love what you’re doing and support you. Interestingly, the very things that sell well online to a national or even international audience are usually the uncommon things that a local clientele won’t want, even for free. For instance, if someone brings a book on underwater welding, or the bottom half of a surveying transit, who would want these uncommon things? These would seem like senseless junk to the local clientele unless the one person in a million who is a surveyor or professional scuba diver comes in. Yet someone online will pay well to get a base for their transit, or to buy the book that will teach them how to weld under water. I once sold a tattered ex-library book about the thread count in various fabrics for $240.
I can imagine a wizard, situated like a fortune teller at a flea market, art festival, in a shop, on a busy street-corner, or elsewhere.
The wizard may have some eccentric costuming and furniture. The wizard’s job is to listen to people, and offer practical advice. In order to maintain the aura, the wizard can also make nebulous predictions, using discernment, of course, the way fortune tellers do. The main thing, is that this wizard could be truly helpful, helping individuals find peace and balance in an imbalanced world. In the guise of a wizard, anyone who is balanced, has common sense, is empathetic, yet not so empathetic that they can’t hear other peoples’ problems, can do it.
Often at the end of a session I’ll offer a hypnotic suggestion:
Don’t be surprised if in the next few days something magical comes from our discussion today.
This can be surprisingly powerful. First, it keeps the recipient wondering, or looking back, during the next few days – looking for that magical surprise. So, it keeps it fresh in their minds, giving the session more time to do its work.
This can be especially useful after a weak session, one in which the result seemed to be only mildly effective.
As you may know, the word don’t has the opposite effect. It is as if it is a command to do. So, they’ll be looking for their own metaphors or isomorphic relationships that match the session in some way.
They usually do find that ‘something surprising.’
Have fun! – Jeff
You may enjoy more books like and unlike this one by searching for Jeff Napier in the Kindle Store, and at jeffnapier.com