Thursday 23 February 2012

Midweek update: TCP#4, Ash Wednesday

Ahoy, one and everyone. it is Thursday, and I'm on spring break.  It's basically the same as every week except I haven't been going to class and have found new and more creative ways to procrastinate...

In the news...

I saw an interesting item in the news this week For those unaware, yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which in the church calendar marks the beginning of the 40 day season of Lent. People will often go to church to receive ashes on their forehead as a reminder of sin, mortality, and the need for forgiveness.  Now this service is available via drive-through.

Seems there are a few enterprising churches offering this service now. It's great for the elderly, the infirm, and of course, the lazy commuter on the go. In all seriousness, though, I think it's progressive thinking for them given how rooted in tradition churches tend to be. It'll probably be a few years before they have ashes available Netflix-style, via Internet mail order.

The real step forward, of course, is mobile technology.  You have a priest going around with ashes like one of those roving food carts. He would use twitter on a mobile phone to tweet his location, and then the faithful could come down to meet him when he was on their corner or near their office.
welcome to the church of tomorrow!
The church of the future

The Carnegie Project update

As many of you know, I'm reading through Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, one chapter per week, and writing my reflections on it.  Thanks for following along.

One thing I really appreciate about this book, is that the chapters are simply stories from people's lives, short anecdotes about how the principle applies.  It's a light read.

Previous Principles

Part A: Fundamental techniques in handling people

1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation

3. Frame things in terms of what other people want

I find it interesting just how much of a mind shift this was. I have a feeling this will be one of those lifelong learning things.  First of all, it takes a lot of effort to try and figure out or imagine what other people want.  

Second, it's hard not to sound like a used car salesman. I mean part of this obviously is that you have to actually care about what other people want and not just try and smooth talk people, but I think there might be more to it than that. I think the temptation in trying to frame things in terms of what other people want is to try and mask the fact that you want something. Perhaps that's what felt forced about this.  

I'm starting to look for work for when I finish school, and this is definitely applicable.  The HR people don't care about if I want a job, they care about the skills and requirements they put on the job posting. 

This week's principle

Part B: Six ways to make people like you

4. Become genuinely interested in other people

General idea:  
  • People are not interested in things that do not affect them.
  • People are interested in themselves.
  • If we do not develop an interest in other people we will not have many true friends 
Ok, we're again on ground that I've worked on before, which is a bit of a reprieve for me. When I was in my early 20s I ran into a metaphorical brick wall trying to get people to be interested in me. For some reason it didn't work, and I didn't have many friends, which ended up making me more self-absorbed.

I'm not sure exactly when the shift happened, but I know part of it was that I wanted to be seen as helpful instead of as needy. I also had probably heard something to the effect of "friends don't need a needy friend." Plus I got involved with a church, and there was a lot of teaching about putting others before yourself, so I'm sure that helped a bit.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Yet I know and you know people who blunder through life trying to wigwag other people into becoming interested in them. - Dale Carnegie

One thing I found out, though, is boundaries can be helpful when developing interest in other people. Some people have been so starved for others to have any interest in them at all that when you ask them about their life, you're their new best friend. Trouble is, that people in this situation often do not have the capacity to be interested in you, and the relationship is one-sided and draining. Also I've seen a number of cases where women try to be nice and care about men who are a bit isolated, and the next thing you know the women have an unwanted admirer. So boundaries are good here.

This comes to mind...

I think my biggest resistance to this chapter, and the book in general, is that I don't particularly like the thought that people are selfish by nature, interested primarily in themselves. Upon further reflection I think the reason I don't like this thought is because I don't like to think of myself as selfish by nature, interested primarily in myself. We'll see how I do with this this week.


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