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Becoming a Person Who Helps People

Question from a reader -

Hi Sebastian, a question. I'd like to know how you came to be so... gracious. I've noticed that not only do you preach for others to spread gratitude, but you really do go over-the-top with it. It's a bit unbelieveable at times. But I have a good friend who is always very glad to see me (and everyone else). We aren't close anymore, but I always feel we are. I get the feeling you're similarly genuine. How did that come to be? Have you always been that way? I've been trying to be more thankful, but I don't want it to come off as meaningless as a forced plastic smile.

Well, first, that email totally made my day. Thank you.

Before I answer, I've got to pose a hypothetical question to you. Trust me, it's relevant:

Do you think it's more virtuous to do $5,000 worth of good for someone and get $0 in return, or to do $10,000 worth of good for someone and get $2,000 in return?

The Upside to being Stubborn

On Tynan

Back when I used to help Mystery run workshops, we had a division of labor. He did most of the teaching, I did most of the organizing, and he made most of the decisions. Our program was three nights in the field: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and two days of seminar. At one point Mystery decided that students could no longer take seminar and workshop during the same weekend. They would have to come one weekend for the seminar, and then the following for the workshop. This was great for local students, but a huge hassle for anyone traveling.

No amount of convincing would change Mystery's mind on this. I tried, of course, explaining that the reason we had fewer and fewer students was because no one wanted to fly out two weekends in a row. He wouldn't budge. Mystery is stubborn.

At the time this was frustrating, and even mind boggling-- how could someone so smart make such a bad decision and not listen to reason?

There's another side to being stubborn, though. When he was around twenty one, Mystery was a virgin who was bad with girls. Many young men have been in this position, and most of them never really solved their problem. But mystery was stubborn. He spent his last couple dollars every day taking a bus downtown so that he could go to nightclubs and observe the dynamics between men and women. He took notes, he pondered, he came up with theories, and he tested them.

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