Have you ever tried to see out of a dirty window? I have. Let me tell you something, it's hard to see clearly. Images are obscured and piece meal. Clarity is impossible and you are constantly moving your head from side to side in order to gain a better viewpoint. There is a better way to see though. Clean the window. Instead of bobbing around like a bobble-head, just clean the window.
I am writing this because I've been looking out of a dirty window for the past few weeks without even realizing it. Have you ever had a window that has been mud-encrusted for so long that you just learned how to see through it? You just got used to the mud and grime and now it doesn't bother you anymore. That was me. And I want to emphasize WAS. No more.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to admit that your window is dirty. "Maybe it is dirty, but it's my mud and I like it!" I've been there. Very recently. The mud on my window was pointed out to me and I stubbornly said "So what? I like that mud! It's part of who I am!" What lies. It is no more a part of me than real mud is a part of a real glass window. The people who made that window didn't mix the glass with mud. We splashed the mud on it. Or we allowed others to splash some mud on our window and then we never cleaned it. Maybe you said "Eh, I'll clean it later." and then never got around to it. Maybe you covered the entire window with mud to shut yourself in. I know I've done that. Many times. To punish the world, I have shut myself up and covered my window with mud. "The world will be sorry!". Guess what? The world wasn't sorry. All I accomplished by covering my own window was to prevent any light from being able to come in. Sure, I was safe in my mud-covered home, but no goodness could enter either. That's not living.
Let me share a personal story with you and you can decide if this speaks to you or not: Have you ever had mud on your window so long that you forgot it was even there? I did. My friends and family kept trying to tell me "Hey, Alex, you're window's dirty. When are you gonna clean it?" "It's not dirty!" I would retort. And the saddest part ... I believed myself. I honestly believed there was no mud on it. But the funny thing about reality is that it doesn't care about your opinion or the lies you've told yourself. The reality was that my window was dirty and no amount of my denial could change that. Cleaning the window could change it though. But I wasn't ready yet. I was still consumed in denial and far too stubborn to admit that my window needed cleaning. The mud altered how I viewed the world. The world looked dirty. Now don't get me wrong, there is a lot of mud in the world. Lots of bad things and bad people. That is reality. However, that was no excuse for me to let my window get dirty. No matter how the rest of the world was, I have a responsibility to keep my own window clean.
I think one of the reasons I left the mud on so long was that I grew wearing of cleaning it. No sooner would I clean it then it would get dirty again. Something would come along and splatter some mud on it. Well, in my frustration, I just stopped cleaning it. I got lazy. "I'll get it tomorrow," became my motto. I was being a grasshopper instead of being an ant (if you remember the classic Aesop's Fable). Soon, I became far more pessimistic than I ever used to be and I couldn't figure out why (hint: the mud on my window had a little something to do with it).
Can you relate to this? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? It's okay. It's happened to the best of us. Resolve now to start cleaning your window. Maybe there is so much mud that the task seems too large to even begin. Don't believe that lie. Just wipe up a small section. Give yourself a tiny, little clear hole to view from. Soon you will crave the light and begin to feverishly clean up the rest of the window. At first the light will be bright, sharp and even painful. But once your eyes adjust, they will relish the light. You will see the same things you've seen a hundred times but feel as though you were seeing them for the first time. It will compel you to keep cleaning until your window is spotless.
Friends, have you ever tried to see through a dirty window? How clearly did you see? How excited were you about life? I know that when my window is dirty, I feel sad, lethargic, heavy and weary. But when the window is clean and the light blasts in, I feel happy, excited, vibrant, and passionate. All it takes is a little work to keep mud off the window.
That is all for now. There are still some smudges I must clean up in the corners.
Teachers would be better teachers if they acted like salespeople instead of as teachers.
What? Yes. I recall college classes where the professor came to class unprepared, and sometimes even uncaring as to whether or not we, the students, learned anything. They simply read text off a PowerPoint that we easily could have read in our pajamas on our laptop from home and then left. They didn't care. As a result, guess how much the students cared?
Teachers would be more effective if they studied great salespeople and treated each class as a pitch to prospective customers and clients. Each kid in that classroom is potentially a (fill-in-the-blank of teacher's profession here) and if they acted like that, prepared their classes like that, and thought of themselves as recruiters for their profession, the classes would be much more engaging, exciting and most importantly, the students would learn more as a result.
You see, salespeople live and die by whether or not they make a sale. No sales = death. Professors (especially tenured ones) can get apathetic in their approach because their success is no longer based on results. I am not saying do away with tenure. Not at all. However, I am saying to do away with the MINDSET that tenure can bring: apathy, laziness and a lack of caring.
Now, if this idea works for professors, it works for anyone who isn't currently a salesperson. Pretend that your very life depends on whether or not you "make a sale". The hard truth is, we are all in sales. You had to sell yourself to the person who agreed to date you and/or marry you. You had to sell yourself to the company you work for and you will have to sell yourself again should you leave the company or get fired.
The hard truth is, everyone IS their own business. You are the CEO, Founder, Owner and President of You, Inc. Act like your very existence depends on whether or not you "make a sale" because it does.
You'll perform better as a professor, or a computer analyst, or as an Human Resources Manager if you act like your life depends on "sales." And to top it off, your people, your students, your employees, etc. will benefit from your attitude shift because you will treat them differently under this new attitude. You will be looking out for their interests more because your livelihood depends on looking out for them.
So whether you are a professor, a technician or even a construction worker, start acting like your job and life is dependent on making sales. What does this mean? You must sell people on who you are, why you do what you do, and why others should aspire to do and be what you are. This will automatically make you a more attractive person to hire, promote, or to become friends with. Do it and watch your life change.