Two Places at Once

Posted by on June 3, 2002

A Monday Morning Memo from the Wizard to Help You Better Understand Yourself and Those you Love

“Absent-minded professor” is a term often used to describe a person who isn’t very observant. Do you have a friend who sometimes loses track of what they’re doing? And even occasionally of where they are? Are you a bit that way yourself?

Absent-minded professors aren’t stupid; quite the contrary, they are often some of the smartest people we know. The professor’s only problem is that s/he has trouble being in two places at once. The body is with us but the mind is off exploring somewhere else. (The beagle of Intuition catches a whiff of something interesting and “Aroo! Aroo-aroo!” she’s off the path and into the woods.)

Children whose minds are too advanced for the tedious pace of their classmates don’t do too well in school. These little “absent-minded professors” just can’t stay focused on subjects they don’t find interesting, preferring instead to live in a private, inner world of infinite possibilities.

The absent-minded professor will live a lifetime being told, “Pay attention,” and being asked, “Are you listening?” Chagrined, s/he will apologize and inwardly promise to do better next time. But what if next time we tried something different? What if instead of reprimanding our friend, we gently whispered, “Tell me what you’re thinking…” Do you love your friend enough to do this? Does your child/grandchild/friend trust you enough to answer you with the truth? If so, prepare yourself to be richly rewarded with colorful visions far beyond the movie screens of Hollywood. Prepare to ponder questions for which there are no easy answers. Prepare yourself to be fascinated and confused as you journey to the center of the soul.

You’ve long been told, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The only problem with this advice is that you aren’t others and others aren’t you. A better interpretation of Matthew 7:12 might be, “Do unto others as THEY prefer to be done unto.”

Successful and well-liked salespeople talk to the customer in the language of the customer about what matters to the customer. The best publicists and public relations specialists talk to the journalist in the language of the journalist about what matters to the journalist. And the greatest writers and public speakers speak to the audience in the language of the audience about what matters to the audience. Will you talk to the absent-minded in the language of the absent-minded? Living in a world outside of time, absent-minded professors crave a friend who is not in a hurry – a friend with whom they can discuss thoughts and ideas that matter to no one else but them.

Are you ready to be such a friend?

Roy H. Williams

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