Tuesday, October 4, 2011

There You Are

"Skipper, a special message just came in for you from the admiral," a sailor reported to his captain, holding out a brown envelope. "I have it right here."

"Just read it to me," said the captain.

"I think it’s personal, Sir. You may want to read it in private."

"Read it aloud to me," he ordered, "unless you’re embarrassed by a little flattery." He stuck his chest out a tiny bit further.

The sailor read, "You are without a doubt, the most conceited, self-absorbed, ego-maniac ever to command a ship in this country’s navy."

The skipper scowled. "Have that communication decoded at once."

Surely it couldn’t mean what it said. The captain was like a proud lion who strutted through the jungle. The lion came across a chimpanzee. "Who is the king of the jungle?" he demanded.

"Why, of course, you are." The terrified chimpanzee trembled. With that, the lion gave a mighty roar.
Next he spotted a hyena. "Who is the king of the jungle?"

The hyena was quick to respond. "You are, mighty one." She bounded away without looking back.

Then the lion came across an elephant drinking from the river. "Who is the king of the jungle?" he roared.

The elephant grabbed the lion with his trunk, whirled him around in the air and threw him far into the water.

As the soggy and bedraggled beast struggled to shore he said, "Just because you don't know the answer is no reason to get upset."

Like the skipper, the lion had trouble hearing what he didn’t want to hear. He was king of the jungle no matter what anyone else might think.

Have you noticed – for some people, it's all about them; for others, it's all about you? Author and speaker Leil Lowndes puts it this way: "There are two kinds of people in this life. Those who walk into a room and say, 'Well, here I am.' And those who walk in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'" I know which I am happiest to see.

I’ve learned how important it is to try to make others feel important. Do you know that it is easy to talk to practically anybody? If you want to find a subject of interest, ask them about themselves. Help them feel as if they matter and you will always have plenty to talk about.

It’s important to make them feel important. If you want friends, show an interest in people around you. No one is without a friend who knows how to be a friend.

And if you want to take it to the next level, treat each person you are with as if they are the most significant person in your life at that moment. That is making the shift from "Here I am" to "There you are." It is not always an easy shift to make. It may mean changing a fundamental outlook or attitude. But when one can make that change, everything else changes, too – for the better.

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army in 1865, understood this principle. A story is told that, one Christmas season, he tried to think of a way to encourage all of his officers. The Salvation Army had seen rapid growth by this time they were spread throughout several countries. He decided to send each one a telegram. The cable consisted of a one-word message: OTHERS. His organization grew around that motto.

I can hardly think of a better motto for a life. A life dedicated to "others" is one that shouts THERE YOU ARE. It is a life that is full and happy and, best of all, worthwhile.

-- Steve Goodier

Image: flickr.com/Tambako The Jaguar

1 comment:

Loren M. Gelberg-Goff said...

It's really amazing how much better we feel when we focus on others rather than on ourselves. Of course, we also want and need attention, so your advice to have friends, one must be a friend is spot on. Let that positive energy and caring simply flow!