When’s the last time you had a real honest-to-goodness “aha!” moment? For me, it was quite recently. It was so simple that I wondered how I’d missed it up until now. And yet it was so profound that I actually felt the perspective shift happen and knew at once that it would change things moving forward.
I don’t know if you’ll find it as revelatory as I did or not. I suspect some of you will. For others, perhaps, it will serve as a timely reminder of something you’ve merely forgotten for too long.
If you’ve read my book, The Best Advice So Far, or if you’ve been reading along on this blog for any length of time, you know that I devote a good deal of focus to the importance of using people’s names often, whether it be with the cashier at the convenience store, with the other patrons working out around you at the gym – or even with sketchy neighbors. Most of my stories of cool personal interactions with strangers begin with our having exchanged names. I mentioned in one post that I make a point to ask homeless people their names (just as I would with anyone else), and recounted having met one woman who hadn’t heard her own name spoken in so long, she’d actually forgotten what it was.
Anyone who’s been out with me to a restaurant or movie theater – or really anywhere – knows that I’m not just spouting ideals here. I really do practice what I preach with regard to asking and using people’s names. (And for some reason I can’t quite figure out, many people find this odd, amusing – even almost mystical.)
In short, the importance of asking and using people’s names is not a new revelation or practice for me. Nor is it a surprise that cool things often come of such a simple practice.
No, the recent realization that I did have was …