A couple of weeks ago, a father of two of my junior students interrupted me during the middle of my class to discuss a couple of things on his mind. I stopped the class and walked towards him to see what he wanted.
"What is this thing with the Success Journals?” he aggressively asked. “Why do I have to pay for them for my kids?"
"Have you had a chance to take a look at one?" I calmly replied.
“No…” he replied “…but c'mon, can I pay less for them?"
I didn’t know what to say and it took me a few seconds to compose myself and reply in an appropriate manner. I studied him for a second; reminding myself how he never came to see his kids perform, never took any pride in their achievements, and additionally had no idea whatsoever about the benefits our program provided for them.
I took a deep breath and finally announced to the father that he could have the journals for free. His face lit up with a huge smile, and I realized that I had seen this reaction before. And that feeling was "I got away with it. Yes! I did it… I won."
I watched the father as he walked away from me, then outside towards his brand new Mercedes. I thought to myself that I would never treat another human being the same way that this man had just treated me. I pondered if he really thought that he was getting away with it? Was his way of living life really serving him or giving him good fortune? I realized that I had no control over this man or anybody else for that matter, but I did have control over my own life and the attitude which I chose to reflect upon people.
I understood that I wasn’t able to lie to people. When one lies, people pretend to agree with statements you make, going along with them and looking as if they believe you. However, most of the time they know the truth, or at least the fact you are lying to them.
It was amazing that this gentleman walked away from me with such a great feeling, not knowing or caring about the huge withdrawal he took with him from my emotional bank account. And I've had many experiences dealing with these kind of people who strive to simply get away with something. Especially if it’s for free.
Coming from the Persian culture, I have had first hand experience with these sorts of things. I wonder about these people. I wonder about the culture. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to re-examine my upbringing and to challenge every point of reference that I accepted as a young child.
I clearly remember dueling over the following question:
If I continue to live up life out of the same interpretations and practices, what will I produce?
The answer was simple: The same thing I’ve always had.
"It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness..."