Jimmy Durante had a big nose. (You might want to google that.) It was his trade mark. My nose Is normal, and I try to keep my opinions to myself, but this blog will serve as a reminder that the world needs you to be the best you. And fixing others is not in your purview—until you are, well, perfect. Flying out of Knoxville several years ago, I sat down next to a gentleman in first class who was, let’s just say, not attractive. I’m no trophy husband, either, just to set the record straight. We struck up a conversation, and as you can imagine, I asked him if he was from Knoxville. He said no, and that he was here speaking at a convention. I was intrigued. So I asked him what he did for a living. He replied, “I’m a cosmetic surgeon!”
Now, stop the bus and shut the door, because you are thinking the same as me! 1. If you are a cosmetic surgeon, you should get some work done. 2. Why would I come to you to be better-looking when you aren’t?
After stating his occupation, he laughed and said, “I know what you are thinking.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
He said, “You are thinking, ‘Why did this ugly guy go into an occupation all about making others attractive?'”
Then he said, “It is as obvious as the nose on your face (now there is a reference that is hard to deny).”
“You aren’t ugly,” I said (my mom would have been proud). That statement would have earned me three Pinocchios. (Ok, I’ll stop while I’m ahead.)
He said, “Try to see it from my perspective. People come to see me because (pay attention; this gets complicated) they think others think something is wrong with them.”
“How so?” I asked.
He responded, “Well, if you lived on a desert island, would you care what you looked like?”
I admitted, “Great point!”
He then elaborated by explaining, “Here is how it works: Beautiful people come to my office. They are perfect. But they believe others would think they were better if their parts were bigger, higher, smaller, or altered. My assistants make them comfortable. I enter the room. I sit on a small three-legged, rolling stool, and I listen. Sometimes, it is hard to listen to them tell me about their issues when all I can see is a beautiful human being. So, I come in real close, because I have to take a closer look, and that’s when I realize I am blessed!”
Again I asked, “How so?”
He reasoned, “Because if I were beautiful, I would feel like something was wrong with me.”
I said, “Doc, you are an amazing human being, because you are beautiful where it counts: on the inside.”
As a general rule, according to my mom, be as helpful as you can be and never, I repeat, never meddle. There is an infinite fine line between being helpful and bossy. Most folks who step over that line are just born without that gene or lost their filter along the way. That brings us to today! It’s Wednesday, and a slow travel day. I’m flying to Wichita to speak at an insurance conference; then I’ll travel on to Houston. I’ve had a great brunch with the love of my life, Debra June, so I’m pretty stinking great. My plane is loading, and then it happens…
I call them fixers, controllers, and meddlers. He got onboard. What ever he was thinking, he was audibly mumbling to himself. He looked at the flight attendant and said, “Are people always this slow when they get on the plane?” Oh yes, he obviously had a hearing problem, because he said it aloud. He fixed everyone’s stored luggage that didn’t need fixing. This guy even asked if a companions seat should have been reclined before we got in the air. He complained to the person next to him all the way to Atlanta. Praise the Almighty, he wasn’t next to me! It was the longest 30-minute flight of my life.
Now, I can count on one hand the times I have flown into Atlanta and got to fly out of the same gate. It’s like winning the lottery. I board my plane and I can’t believe my eyes… Guess who is going to Kansas? It’s Groundhog Day all over again! I just hope he is not in the front row of my conference. So how do we cope with people who can’t see the speck in their own eye?
Here are some dandy tips:
Don’t let negativity draw you in!
A wise man once said, “If you stay in the sunshine, you avoid the darkness.” When someone does something that pushes your buttons, stop and say, ”My life is good. Why should I sweat the bad stuff?”
Be a source of positive influence.
You can’t sing the blues and laugh! You know you are doing something right when whiny people avoid you because you don’t enable them.
Hang around people who feed your success.
It’s okay to move your boat if the fishing is bad. Successful people are never unhappy, but unhappy people can drain your success!
Be a complimentarian!
Don’t flatter people. Give them positive, constructive input. It’s like a cool drink of water on a hot day.
Remember to seek joy for you and those around you.
It’s ok to help—just remember you have boundaries. Open doors, but understand some folks like to open their own.
Jimmy Durante would be proud you are making people smile in this Wonderful World.