Searching for an emoji reminded me of something C. said. This is the emoji, by the way: 😐
C. was a great believer in the idea of telling people to have an OK day. You wouldn’t tell someone to have a shitty day. That’s cruel. And a member of (organization) by definition has a weird barometer where if you treat him special, he feels normal, and if you treat him normally he feels inadequate. So C. constantly trained for “normal”. Hence, “Have an OK day.” Don’t pander to the “I’m special” belief, because “I’m special” causes a feeling of separateness, of difference from people around you. Even the ones that love you.
C. was smart. If he is still alive, he still is smart, I’m sure.
Postscript on the “shitty” side and C.’s advice. He relentlessly pushed people to get a job. One classic encounter — recounted as fable in (organization) — was C. talking to a new guy.
“Get a job,” C. said. He’s blunt like that. The new guy said “I can’t. I feel shitty.” That’s normal. 100% of new members feel shitty. I certainly did.
C.’s fabled response: “Get a shitty job.”
Says it all, really. Follow that advice and your life will change for the better.
I had an experience like that.
First, it is important to remember the old you. This is what I was. Six or seven years after entering (Organization) one of the guys who saw me walk through the door for the first time (Gino, now deceased) said “When you were new you were silent and rigid and sweaty.” Ha! So true.
Anyway. Now you know what I was like when I was new.
One night there was a “we’re going to Norm’s for coffee” announcement and I accepted the offer to participate. I can’t tell you how low I was in the early days. Low. To get any invitation to be part of anything was like manna.
I arrive at Norm’s. I know no one.
Someone I don’t even know comes up to me and chats. Discovers I’m new and afraid.
Says “Go shake hands with 10 people.” He told me what to do and what to say. “Hi, I’m (name) and I have two weeks.”
I did it.
I won’t say I was instantly at ease. I won’t say life changed overnight. But that was a pivot.
I’m crying now from the memory as I’m typing this. Thirty years later.
An anonymous stranger invested 10 minutes in me and changed my life.
Into action, baby.