A person’s a person, no matter how small. – Dr. Seuss
We all love to talk about ourselves don’t we? Our slights, our grievances, our successes, our ambitions, our interests. We love to talk about all the things that make us human. All the things that make us who we are. We think we’re special. Guess what?
You’re Not Special
Neither am I.
I recently decided to dive into the world of creative real estate investing. After what seemed like months of reading, studying, listening, watching whatever “training” I could get my hands on, I connected with a successful individual that knows his way around the industry.
I offered to help him grow his company so that I can learn through experience instead of study. His response in not so many words: find people having problems with their property, knock on their door, and talk to them. I’ll pay you for any properties we can work with.
So that’s what I did.
Very quickly I was reminded of something that we seem to so easily forget:
Every one of us is truly unique.
This is what I mean when I say “you’re not special.” You are not the only one with desires, lofty goals, money problems, stress, or a favorite food. We all have these things that make us individuals.
It’s too easy, in our age of information overload, to fall into the trap of treating anybody outside our immediate social circle as a number instead of a human being. There are so many people vying for our attention. Everybody wants something and we’ve only got so much to give.
Stay guarded, but stay human
It’s true. There are only 24 hours in a day and time is the one asset we each have that we can never get back. So of course we must stay vigilant and protect our time as the treasure it is.
However, there’s a fine line between being brusque and being inhuman; a line I believe we’d all be better off paying more attention to.
When I was out knocking on doors of people who were in jeopardy of losing their homes, I was exposed to a smorgasbord of emotions. Some had mentally removed themselves from the situation, as though it were happening to someone else. Others were frantic, obviously not able to think critically. Still others were prideful, willing to so curtly excuse even the mention of help in spite of the glaring issues.
I realized how easy it would have been to go off on some of these people. I understood how dealing with people in stressful situations could wear someone down to the point of giving up.
Very quickly I discovered the promise of money alone would not be enough to drive me to knock on the next door. I had to remind myself with each new home that the individual inside was a human, with thousands of days worth of experiences that had brought them to this point in time. These individuals need help and I had determined to help them.
The Golden Rule
Now that I think about it, mother was so much more philosophical than I’d given her credit for when she said “treat others how you’d like to be treated.”
We’ve all heard the saying but how many of us have truly grasped the implications?
It’s not just a quip to remind us to “be nice.” Indeed, it hints at something much deeper, something much more human: we must understand the humanity of the individual and respond in every unique interaction appropriately.
Every one of us has a story to tell, a life that’s been lived, a life yet to live, and a unique perspective of the world. Be mindful not to lose sight of the human component of the world you live in.