One of the skills called for in sharing
with people is sharing it in such a way that they don't hear you saying
or even implying they need it - because they don't.
Another facet of this skill is sharing it in such a way that they don't
hear you saying or implying there's something missing (or worse, saying
or implying there's
will provide (or
- because there isn't (and it doesn't). Rather, the effective way to
share it is as an access to possibility. Possibility, being what
it is for people, is real for every last person on
Be mindful that people may consider their sense of possibility to be
private and / or personal, at least to start with,
so the idea of its principles being scrutinized and shared by millions
of people around
may be daunting to start with.
And so I happened to be in a conversation with a really nice person
and who didn't know I have. But that soon changed (not dramatically,
mind you) when she asked what I did, and I shared a bit about
and their inspiration, with her. Then I asked her to say something
She described herself as a happy person. She also said she
has a positive outlook on Life. Both of those qualities
are attractive to me - at least initially, and at least on the surface.
And (for the most part) they come with a generous mileage
warranty - which is to say, you can go far with either or
both of them. But I wanted to explore deeper than that. It was
that kind of conversation.
I asked her what makes her happy. There's always a lot of overlap with
what makes people happy, especially if you're a person of good
of kind and generous demeanor - you know, we all tend to want the same
sort of things for the greater good. But to be provocative (it
was that kind of conversation), I asked her: "If you don't
have any of the things that make you happy, are you still happy?".
"Yes" she said "I'm a happy person.". I persisted "So you describe
yourself as a happy person like you're a natural blonde, right?
But you don't
the color of your hair, do you? It just grows that way, yes? You really
have no say in it, do you?".
for a few moments. It's a pivotal point. If you describe yourself as
happy, and you don't have any say in what makes you happy, is that
"I'm always expecting good things" she said. "In other
"you would say you have a positive outlook on Life.".
"That's right" she answered, "I do. I expect good things.". Ah!
Expectation. It was an opening I was waiting for.
the feeling that good things are going to happen in the future
It fits what expectation is for us. And that's food for thought:
expectation is predicated on what? On a feeling ... and a
feeling is predicated on what? The autonomic nervous
system? Axons? Dendrites? Synapses? Hormones? Enzymes? That's
not what I would call a strong foundation for making things happen. If
I say I have a feeling good things are going to happen ... it's my own
expectation which leaves me powerless in the matter of
what actually happens - which is to say it's my own expectation of what
will happen, which leaves me without power in the matter of what
This is risky talk, this
this teasing out possibility as a distinction with power.
It's the skill I alluded to earlier. And it's a learned skill, a skill
learned through practice. In all likelihood, you didn't get the
distinction access to possibility until someone went out
on a limb and shared it with you - I certainly didn't. Similarly,
with people as an access to possibility, requires going out on a limb.
Drawing a distinction between expectation and
possibility in a conversation, for example, isn't your
water cooler small talk chit chat. Drawing a distinction between
expecting to be happy, and the possibility of being
happy in a conversation, isn't your Monday morning
quarterback's bloated opinion.
of possibility by asserting
is its access, its blunt instrument. It's a simple enough
assertion. But then again, all great truths are simple once they're
known. Simple, yes. But easy? That's for you to decide.
That's for you to try on for size. I asked
about this as we sat alone having
together (nothing more than room temperature filtered water - that's
all): "Can we really be happy just by each of us saying 'I'm
happy'?". I'll share his answer with you. I suggest you listen it
as possibility - not as positive thinking and certainly not as "the
truth". Rather, as I said, just try it on for size. He said (I'm
paraphrasing - my recreation here of what he said is pretty darn
accurate, but it's not a verbatim quote):
Whenever you say "I'm ...", the very
thing to come out of your mouth shapes your world. Whenever
you say "I'm ... unhappy", it's the simple
of saying "I'm unhappy" which is "I'm unhappy.".
Similarly, whenever you say "I'm ... happy", it's the
of saying "I'm happy" which is "I'm happy.". And this (I
added it for her - he didn't say this
part exactly) is being happy like a possibility not like
an expectation. There's an enormous balance of power in
favor of what you can command (which is to say, in favor of what you
can have) as the result of the possibility invented by a
as opposed to the result of an expectation ie as opposed to the result
of a feeling - in other
as opposed to the result of the random
of the autonomic nervous system. Again, that's not "the truth". Rather,
just try it on for size.
She got it - I could tell. What she got was the enormous balance of
power in favor of what you can command (which is to say, in favor of
what you can have) as the result of the possibility invented by a
as opposed to the result of an expectation. She said she would register
at the earliest available opportunity.
"Congratulations!" I said. "Thank you. It sounds wonderful" she
replied, adding "I expect good things from it.".
"Stop doing that"
I winked at her, smiling.