When the music stops and the rhythm dies. When the tap is closed and the face is dry…it all comes flashing back. It all comes rushing past. The failures, disappointments, opportunities, successes. The ambitions, desires, dream. The people who matter most…
It’s evening and Steve is flipping his pen quietly by his desk. Another day after work. He has made it big. He’s worked his ass off to rise up the ladder and get a prestigious corporate job. He has got the cash. He is living the Nairobi dream. Then he breaks down and cries.
Hold up. Hold up. Why do these stories always have to end this way? I mean we are raised up to work for a better life: to uphold the principles of discipline, trustworthiness and consistency in hardwork. Then somewhere along the line someone tells us that this is not the answer to happiness. Really now?!
I mean look at me right now. I have woken up early in the morning and done all that discipline stuff to report to work early in the morning…a few minutes late as usual (I worked hard to maintain my culture and image of tardiness) when I find this guy doing some talk about the mind: which I figure is just an excuse to sell his book to fellow bankers.
He does everything right. His introduction is perfect. He talks about his life as a fellow banker to connect with other members of staff. He is an excellent orator. He talks about his struggles in the corporate life and how he quit his job to focus on neuroscience and transformative coaching. Then he mentions how Paul Kagame is his mentor. I’m impressed.
I am being moved to buy his book and I’m having non of it! I decide to use my other strength to get a close up interview with him and save myself the 400 bob so that I can give to the poor and needy. Ok I probably didn’t give that money to the poor and needy but I needed a good excuse.
So I lay out my strategy. It’s called the 10 second rule of new acquainances. (I hope this is not one of those moments where I feel good about inventing something cool, only to find it on YouTube 10 seconds later)
You have 10 seconds to make a good impression. Instead of heaping on yourself the unnecessary pressure, you simply divert the attention to the other person. Get him/her talking about himself/herself. Like what he/she does on a normal day; why he/she does it and how he/she thinks to sustain this life. Basically his/her values.
Now this is very risky move and if used improperly it will land you into having a very intimate conversations with every person you meet. So be careful if that is not your goal. But it’s a cool way to bond.
Once the person has finished giving his/her story or answering a question, he/she has 10 seconds of silence that should remain uninterrupted to enable him/her to go deeper. (Next time I am picking ‘him’ and leaving out ‘her’ in my writing. Nothing personal. I just can’t keep doing this ‘his/her’ business anyomore.)
So armed with this strategy I walk up to Steve. I introduce myself and we begin a chat.