Author Archives: Tim David

The Influence Troll

trollbridge

Three travelers seeking riches came upon a long bridge.

On the other side was more treasure than they could ever imagine.

When they tried to cross the bridge, however, a troll appeared demanding payment for safe passage.

The first traveler didn’t believe the troll was real, and attempted to make her way across the bridge anyway.

With a flick of his fingers, the troll cast the traveler off the side of the bridge and onto a rock landing below. She was unharmed, but she never reached the treasure.

The second traveler was horrified and ran past the troll to look over the edge of the bridge to his fallen comrade.

“Uh-uh,” warned the troll. “You cannot pass without payment.”

“Have a heart. She’s my friend! You must let me help her!”

The troll softened and granted passage to the second traveler.

“Ha!” cried the second traveler. “You fool!” And he sprinted across the bridge toward the treasure instead. As he neared the end, a second troll appeared. With a disapproving look and a wave of his hand, the hasty traveler was flung of the bridge and into the darkness of the gorge.

The first traveler shows us that influence cannot be ignored. If you want to move mountains, you must be able to move people. We do not have a choice whether we influence, only HOW we influence.

The second traveler shows us that influence is not about manipulation or trickery and it is not something to be used as a tool for selfish gain. The bridge is long. Our actions today will have repercussions down the line.

What the third traveler does is up to you. Every day we have a choice of how we build and use the tool of influence.

What would YOU say or do to create TRUE influence and gain safe passage to the treasure? COMMENT BELOW!

 

How to Generate Sudden Interest in Old Ideas

Sudden interest.

It’s the stuff of legend.

Van Gogh died a broke and lonely man. Now he’s one of the most famous artists of all time.

By the time he was 35, all of Herman Melville’s books were out of print and he had only earned about $10,000 from writing in his entire lifetime. Moby Dick got its due acclaim about forty years later, after his death.

Similarly, only a small handful of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published during her lifetime.

Many forward-thinking individuals do not live to see their ideas catch on.

Today, I want to give you a way to create sudden interest in your idea. And preferably, BEFORE you die.

For the past few weeks, there has been sudden, unexplained interest in Magic Words. Here’s my recent sales chart:

BookSalesSpike

My book hasn’t sold like this since it first came out…146 WEEKS AGO!

So, what’s the deal…why the sudden interest?

It turns out that another book with “Magic Words” in its subtitle has been selling very well. Online retailers began offering my book as an upsell and buyers are going for it.

There is a powerful lesson hidden in the psychology here. The customer is essentially saying, “Here’s a book that is similar to another book I already want. Therefore, I must want this book too.”

That’s the key for getting an idea to catch on. Make it similar to an idea they already accept.

Quick story to illustrate how you can use this principle of similarity to move your ideas forward.

The Lion King is a classic Disney movie that almost didn’t get made. The powers that be were having a hard time figuring out what to do with the script. They weren’t sure if they even liked it. Finally, someone used the principle of similarity…

“It’s like Hamlet, but with Lions.”

Click.

Suddenly, everything made sense. Suddenly, the script fell into place. Suddenly, there was INTEREST in getting the film made sooner rather than later.

Use the following formula to generating sudden interest in your own ideas…

“It’s like ___________, but/with/without/for/of _______________”

A few examples…

Dave and Busters: It’s like Chuck E Cheese for adults.

Sport Clips: They’re like Hooters, but for haircuts.

Instagram: It’s like Facebook, but with pictures.

Comment below with your own statement of similarity! Make me understand your business in one sentence.

Why the Vegas Shooting Happened

Bad things happen.

And this was one of the worst.

If you somehow haven’t heard yet, a gunman opened fire on a crowd in Las Vegas, killed at least 59 people, and injured hundreds more before killing himself.

As a magician, I’ve got a lot of friends in Las Vegas, and I spend a lot of time on the strip (I’ll be there next week, in fact.)

So add that to the list of why the news horrified me.

First and foremost though, was the fact that something like this could even happen. I mean…what are we doing?

More importantly, what can we do to stop it from happening?

Well, I don’t have all the answers. I’m just as blown away by this as I hope you are. (Complacency is a bad sign…watch out for it.)

Do we blame the usual suspects? TV? Violent video games? Religious or political extremism? Lack of gun control? Pharmaceutical companies pushing their mood-altering pills? The news media? The Insane Clown Posse???

I recently read some compelling research on wartime PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The researchers found that it isn’t the constant risk or threat of dying that does all the damage to the brain. It’s the killing that does it.

Even drone pilots, who are far away from the battlefield and in almost zero danger themselves, suffer from PTSD at the same rates as soldiers who are in the thick of battle. But yet, medics and sailors working right alongside those soldiers in the high-risk areas suffered low rates of psychiatric breakdown.

Bottom line: Trying to kill people messes you up more than having people trying to kill you.

Killin’ Ain’t Easy

 

After the Battle of Gettysburg, something interesting was discovered. Out of the 27,000 single-load muskets recovered, nearly 24,000 of them were loaded, but unfired. Out of those, half were loaded multiple times, but still…unfired.

That’s a lot of soldiers thinking about killing, but never doing so – even with the other guys trying to kill them. “Nah, I’ll just re-load again while they shoot at me.” (Most deaths at Gettysburg were caused by artillery, not infantry.)

There was a similar pattern in WWII. Only 15-20 percent of riflemen ever fired their guns.

Thankfully, looking at another human being through the crosshairs and pulling the trigger ain’t easy.

Unfortunately, We’ve Gotten Better At It.

Militaries train their soldiers better now and technology makes it possible to kill at greater and greater distances.

Wartime propaganda also helps to make killing easier.

They all aim to do one thing…

Dehumanize the enemy.

The Rwandan genocide killed people at five times the rate of the Nazi Holocaust. One out of every seven Rwandans died.

Worse, they were not killed with bombs or tanks, but sticks and machetes. Close-range. Personal.

In order to make that happen, some serious dehumanization needed to take place. It was beyond “Us” vs. “Them” for the Hutus. It was “They are not even human, and every Tutsi must die.”

The Hutus didn’t call them Tutsis though. They called them only cockroaches. Cockroaches that must be stamped out.

That’s the essential ingredient to killing.

That’s what undoubtedly allowed Stephen Paddock to massacre dozens of people, and then immediately massacre dozens more.

Dehumanization.

The Single Greatest Threat to Us…And the Solution

I believe dehumanization is the single greatest threat to our way of life. It can show up in a big way on the Las Vegas strip, or it can show up in small ways every single day.

Some tiny examples of dehumanization:

  • Someone says, “I hate lawyers”. You nod.
  • Someone tells a racist joke. You laugh.
  • An NFL player kneels during the anthem. You want them off your planet.
  • The lunch table at work erupts in complaints about the boss. You get fired up. “Damn the man!”

It’s a slow killer, but a killer nonetheless.

The solution is to “rehumanize.” Strive to understand their core values – family, freedom, desire for survival, etc. Note the similarities to your own. Imagine what a day is like for “one of them” – start to finish. Consider each person you meet as an individual and not as a member of a group. Engage one or more of “them” in conversation. Ask lots of questions and try not to turn it into a debate.

No, we can’t remove every violent video game from the world or censor every hip hop artist we don’t like or take away everyone’s mobile device or eliminate all the guns, etc. etc.

But we can focus on finding more human connection in our own lives. We can search for opportunities to create small moments of connection at work, or in our families, or in our communities. We can try to find another human buried somewhere in our mind’s “THEM” pile.

If there’s one thing we’ve lost, it’s the small spaces (and the permission) to create connection. Everyone is busy. Everyone is staring at their phone. Everyone is so laser-focused on the bottom line. There is so much content to consume that every waking moment is filled to the brim with hyper-stimulation and nothing is left over for those small moments of connection.

Again, I don’t have all the answers. Maybe I’m just an idealist. All I know is that every time I find a way to insert more human connection into my life, the better things go for me.

Harvard agrees. After an eighty-year, $20 million study, they said this:

Grant Study Quote

You may not have the power to change the whole world, but I guarantee more human connection will change your world.

 

A Call to Connection

“Okay Tim,” you say.

“I get it. It’s important to prioritize human connection in my life. BUT…”

How Do I Get OTHERS to Prioritize Human Connection in THEIR Lives?

Good question. I’m glad I asked it for you.

Here’s a common problem I hear about all the time…

  • Your employees prefer to email clients instead of picking up the phone and creating a more “real” connection.
  • Or they text you instead of dropping by your office.
  • Maybe emails filled with workplace gossip are circulating (and escalating) when a simple face-to-face conversation would clear things up in a second.
  • Or maybe your kids have been known to text you from all the way across the couch.

It drives you crazy.

YOU make a solid effort to connect with those around you. YOU understand the benefits of doing so. What is WRONG with these people?

Okay, maybe a more effective question would be, how can we help these people see the light? How can we not only change their minds about human connection, but also their behavior?

Maybe you’ve tried before and quickly realized that the obvious ideas DON’T WORK.

You CAN’T simply talk about the virtues of human connection and expect them to change their deeply ingrained habits. Preaching at people is rarely a good idea.

You CAN’T provide them with a step-by-step framework for creating more connection with others and honestly believe that they’re going to comply long-term. Information does not lead to lasting transformation.

You CAN’T just quietly lead by example and hope they pick it up through osmosis.

You CAN’T lay down the law and ram a new set of protocols, scripts, policies, and procedures down their throats. You’ll come off like a nit-picking jerk. Besides, real connection can’t be planned or scripted – you must allow them some autonomy.

To me, this is what true influence and leadership are all about. Helping people to become better at what they do without damaging your relationship along the way. Being liked, being respected, AND getting the job done – it’s the influence trifecta.

So, What CAN You Do?

You can convey a message that has the best chance of creating the behavior change that you want. Yeah, I know…easier said than done.

But it’s only hard because you haven’t been taught the recipe.

The recipe for a message that will inspire has a few essential ingredients. You can add more elements if you wish, but do so cautiously – like you would with a spice. Spices can make a meal taste great in the right quantities, but too much will fill your mouth with the purest Hellfire.

NOTE: You can use this recipe to start any kind of movement you want, but I’m giving them to you here within the context of helping others to prioritize human connection.

The main ingredients of an inspiring message are: a Belief, a Blank, a Because, and a Bad Guy.

A Belief
Beliefs are far more inspiring than facts. What gets people more charged up? Discussions about religion or discussions about mathematics? One is based in belief and the other in observable fact. Even those who have heated debates about mathematics are doing so because of differing beliefs or opinions. Facts just don’t move people like beliefs do.

What do YOU believe? What exactly is your message? What do you want them to do?

One thing to consider…state your belief in the positive. “Can you stop staring at your phone for two minutes, for crying out loud?!?” is crystal-clear on what you DON’T want them to do, but vague and fuzzy about what you DO want them to do. An inspiring message encourages people towards human connection rather than away from something else.

Know what you believe and communicate it clearly and powerfully. A good belief is polarizing. It’s a line in the sand. All or nothing. In or out. That way, when people share your belief, they’ll fight for it.

I BELIEVE: Human connection is worth prioritizing at work and in life.

A Blank
Too much specificity will only confuse your message. Laying out a “12-point plan for human connection” or describing the “27 key elements for creating connection” is just too much to get people on board.

While you want the “what to do” part of your message to be crystal clear (see “Belief”), you want the “how to do it” part to be left blank.

This works great for instances when common sense is not so common. Those times when deep-down, people know what to do, but for some reason, they just aren’t doing it.

Human connection fits the bill.

When you leave blanks, it gives people the freedom to come up with their own ideas and strategies. In the moment, if they can remind themselves to prioritize human connection, they’ll find a way to do it. You don’t have to spell it out for them.

In fact, if you tried to, it would seem like you’re micromanaging them. They’d only resist.

How to Prioritize Human Connection: You’ll figure it out. I trust you.

A Because
A great message answers the deep abiding questions that continually plague our minds…

“So what?”

“Who cares?”

“What’s the big deal?”

“What’s in it for me?”

Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk told us that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” When it comes to your ideas, if you want people to buy, you’ve got to give them a why.

An inspiring message communicates a strong because. It articulates the reasons why. It’s optimistic about the possible outcomes and hopeful for the future.

BECAUSE: Human connection brings TRUE success happiness, fulfillment, and joy.

A Bad Guy
Influential communication boils down to great storytelling.

Every good story has conflict, and every good conflict has stakes. The tougher and meaner the villain, and the higher the stakes, the better the story.

What is preventing us from connecting? What obstacles do we need to overcome? What happens if we don’t connect with one another? What if our entire species forgets how? What will happen to our own success, happiness, fulfillment, and joy?

Nothing binds people together like a common enemy.

THE BAD GUYS: Social Media? Greed? Selfishness? Fear? Complacency? All of the above?

Your homework: Develop your own call to connection. Share it with those around you. Repeat it until they’re sick of it. More importantly, live it out yourself. Even the biggest movements start out small.

Brainstorm yours in the comments below.

What I Teach is Stupid…Unless

Human connection.

It’s kind of important.

Sales, leadership, innovation, marriage, parenting, life.

It makes us better at everything we do – and it makes us happier and healthier in the process.

But how do you create more of it?

There are a bunch of ways. I should know. I make my living by helping individuals and organizations do just that.

But do you want to know a secret?

There’s only one thing that really matters.

In fact, without this one thing, all the other ways I teach suddenly seem rather silly. Or even downright stupid.

Let me ask you something. How can you tell whether you feel connected to your co-workers? How do you know that you’re part of a solid, unified team? When was the moment you formed a relationship with your best clients instead of just exchanging transactions?

Exactly what day did your spouse begin to trust you?

Human connection isn’t a tangible thing. There is no way to pinpoint the moment it arrives between two people. You can’t objectively and scientifically measure people as either “connected” or “not connected.” There isn’t a gene, or a facial expression, or even a magic word that is a dead-giveaway for connection.

For example, does smiling create connection?

Well, yes…and no.

One smile is not going to magically and instantly turn two complete strangers into besties.

Is it a good start? Of course.

But did I write to you just to tell you the “secret” of smiling?

No way. I didn’t immerse myself in human connection research for years just to come down the mountain with stone tablets chiseled with “Thou shalt smile more”.

It’s silly. Stupid even.

I KNOW people think advice like that is stupid because they tell me things like, “Tim, that’s stupid advice.”

Just this week I got a comment on one of my YouTube videos teaching some of that “stupid” advice. Here’s what he wrote:

Scam. Don’t work. I’ve been a servant leader for over a decade and still am. People are going to suck unless they decide not to.

Yeah. You sound JUST like a servant leader. And I’m confused. Why are you still claiming to be a servant leader if it’s a scam and doesn’t work? (I mean, if it “don’t work.”) And oh by the way, you’ve totally busted my “scam” of posting free videos on YouTube. I’m so embarrassed now that my operation has been exposed.

Look, I don’t know this guy and I certainly have no way of knowing whether he has in fact been a servant leader for a decade and counting.

But I’ve heard this type of thing before and it always boils down to the same problem.

They’re all missing the “One Thing”.

Yes, they know how to connect. They smile, they say “thank you,” they turn off their cell phone during the meeting, they ask about your day and listen politely, etc. etc.

What they don’t have is CONSISTENCY.

They smile at a prospect and then claim that smiling “don’t work” when they don’t make the sale.

Nope. Connection requires small moments, over and over, consistently.

It’s like building trust. Or falling in love.

Hard to achieve in a moment, but easy to destroy in a moment.

If connection is going to “work” for you, you must prioritize it. Every day. Every time. You must find and create tiny moments of connection. Nothing Earth-shattering. Just go for 1% improvement every day. It will add up, I promise.

That’s the whole point…it adds up. Connection is cumulative. It’s long-term. It’s not a technique. It’s a trait.

So become a person who consistently prioritizes human connection. Develop the trait. Build the habit. Switch from a sprint mindset to a marathon mindset. Take the road less traveled in a technologically advanced world of social media, texting, and artificially intelligent toys.

And what the heck…smile more.