I, also, often times humble myself, humorously, by saying, “the older I get, the better I was.”
It’s no surprise I like to mess with people. Ironically, I also like to make it easy for people to have their own way with me.
Like the Jefferson quote, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock,” sometimes is pays to let the other person think what they want to think, without compromising your own thoughts. Or, as I like to say, “in matters of opinion, flow like a river, in matters of character, stand firm like a rock.”
That’s just like my article, How to Get Your Ideas Accepted, Easily, where I repeat a charming little story from Earl Nightingale about going with the flow and appearing to be the same, for greater rapport.
It’s a story about a farmer who spots a traveler coming down his gravel road. As the traveler approaches, the traveler inquires, “What type of people are in the town up ahead?” “Well,” ponders the farmer, “What type of people did you used to live around?” The traveler says, “They were lying, cheating, good-for-nothings.” The farmer looks at the traveler and says, “Well, you’ll find the people up ahead are a bunch of lying, cheating, good-for-nothings.”
Days later, another stranger come up his lane. The farmer goes out to meet him where his lane meets the road. The stranger asks, “Hello sir. Might fine farm you have here. What kind of people live in the town up ahead?” “Well,” ponders the farmer, “What type of people did you used to live around?” The stranger says, “Well, they are the kindest, most generous and welcoming people I ever did see.” The farmer looks at the kind stranger and says, “Well, I reckon you’ll find the people up ahead are the kindest, most generous and welcoming people you ever did see.”
And, in that post, I quoted, “people only see what they’re prepared to see” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Why get in their way?
So, having said this, this is often my response when people ask, “how are you?” I say, “Better than yesterday.”
I’m sure you see the ambiguity in that statement. It’s ambiguous (and appeals to a pessimist, as well as an optimist) as to whether I had a bad day yesterday, or in fact, a good day. Either way, today is better. Hopefully, they get this, as well.
When selling someone, or persuading them to your way of thinking, do both of yourselves a favor and test ambiguous statements and responses to have a better grasp on the conversations and where they’re headed. If you do, you’ll be there when they get there.
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. –Wayne Gretzky