TRICKS OF THE TRADE
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
A column deicated to "life hacks" from professional magician, Jamie D. Grant of sendwonder.com
Here’s a tweet I sent out a little while ago:
@Jamie_D_Grant : My tip for the week: Avoid negativity at all costs. Eliminate it from your life and those that spread it. Don't let yourself get brainwashed into thinking you can't improve without it, either. Kindness can also lead to greatness.
I think of all my Tricks I have for all my Trades, I would probably say this is the number one piece of advice I could give for anyone looking to make a better life for themselves. It’s either that or, “Be nice to everybody.” It’s probably a toss up. But let’s discuss the avoidance of negativity. Because what exactly does it mean? In real life, how do we do it?
Stop talking, messaging, tweeting, facebooking, emailing, visiting, or thinking about anyone who doesn’t leave you with a good feeling. Right now. Think about that for a second. Think about the last person you interacted with. Are you thinking, “Man, that was a cool guy. I hope I can talk with him again.” Or are you thinking, “Holy smokes, that guy is a jerk.”
If it’s the second one- cease contact immediately.
But, wait! What’s that? You say you have an important point that you still need to make? Oh, you just need one more email to convince them to like you? Pull. Yourself. Together. Listen to me: no one, and I mean no one, who makes you unhappy is making your life better. Because, guess what? Your life could end at any moment! There is no such thing as a “negativity investment”. If you take people’s crap time after time, it’s not going to one day turn into solid gold. That investment doesn’t exist. You’re just going to be surrounded by crap. And die. You could be dead in crap. Is that seriously what you want? Step out, son, and let’s define it! Let’s put concrete examples into how people, sometimes without even knowing it themselves, bring you down…
Complaining: “Don’t you hate it when…”
This person is actually trying to inject hate into you. Seriously? No hate injections for me, thanks. Later!
Criticizing: “Do you know what you need to do? You need to…”
I need to leave your presence immediately.
Making “jokes” at your expense: “Hey, are you sure you should be eating that? Ha ha ha.”
Ha ha see you later.
Talking trash about others to you: “Man, I hate that guy. All he does is…”
All he does is not have to listen to all this negativity all the time.
There is a ton of other ways that people bring you down that you’re probably not even aware of it. And the thing is that they might not even know it, either. Maybe they are just trying to help. Maybe they honestly feel their critiques of the song you wrote or the art you painted is for your best interest.
It doesn’t matter.
Avoid them like the plague!
But how will you get better if no one ever tells you what you’re doing wrong? Or what you need to improve on? Here’s the thing- it can be done with kindness. And it’s the person who takes that small effort, that tiny of change in tone and language, who actually cares about you. That is the person you want o surround yourself with. Because they are cognizant of how you feel. They are making an effort to not only make you better, but to make you feel better. Take a look:
“Dude. Nah man, that beat’s okay, but you need to be rhyming way faster. You sound too slow. You sound like a drunk hippopotamus or something.”
“Did you write that? That’s crazy! It sounds awesome! I wonder what it would sound like if you did it again faster, though? I love fast rhymes. What do you think?”
The small difference is the effort that was made on your behalf. And for everyone who is thinking that’s just the way some people are, or that you can’t be so sensitive if you want to make it in the world today, or you need to be able to take the heat if you want to hang in the kitchen, I say:
I’ll go across the street with my awesome friends and make my own kitchen. Who on earth ever decided that you should spend time in a kitchen you hate? How was that ever a goal? “Hey, this is probably the worst kitchen I have ever been in, in my entire life! And every single person in here is pure misery. But, man! I’m standing in it! Whooo! Holy smokes, is anyone else as hot as I am in here?!” Not for me. And people who try to force you into that kitchen, under the guise of, “You need to hear this”, or, “This is for your own good.” they are bullies, pure and simple, who want to drag you in there because they have no idea how to get out. And misery loves company. Even better if it’s against your will. Don’t ever let anyone try and tell you otherwise.
I remember one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was, “As painful as it might be, be brutally honest with yourself about your finances.” I was young and needed to hear it at the time. But I wonder how many people now, as painful as it might be, need to hear that they need to be brutally honest with their “friendships.” Are the people you’re hanging with consistently raising you up? Or are they bringing you down? Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I absolutely think that’s true, but would also suggest that your average is also directly affected by the people you engage with online. So perhaps it’s time to make some tough choices.
Positivity, fun, and feeling good, actually, in real life, creates energy. If you have something fun to do, you want to get out of bed in the morning. If it’s something you hate, you slack. Every negative interaction you have then is taking away your energy. It is doing you harm. No matter what the person who is dishing it out is telling you. So take care of yourself, remove yourself from the situation, and get the hell out of that kitchen. Let them take care of it. We’ll go climb the mountains.
Jamie D. Grant is a writer and speaker from Vancouver, Canada. You can watch how he does over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lUHsFBqBrE