So it’s been a long time, like over a year. Something like that. I’ve been wanting to do more episodes, but the truth is I’ve been just too lazy to do them. I can come up with reasons or excuses all day long – things got in the way, I had stuff come up, blah blah blah, I was on a secret mission for NASA. The bottom line is that I chose to do other things. Let’s be real here. No bullshit. The thing that got in the way of doing more episodes was me. That’s usually what it is. We get in our own way. Most things can be distilled to that one fact. We are the real problem. I’ll talk a lot about this in future episodes. If I’m not too lazy to do them. But anyway. Here we are. And now that I’ve told you the reason I didn’t do them for a long time, I think it’s suitable to explain why I wanted to do this episode. So several weeks ago I was on itunes looking for this magic the gathering podcast (mtg pro tutor, if you must know) so I could give the guy a good review. After I did the review, I checked out my podcast — this one here — out of curiosity and saw the following review from Steve. Check it out.
Before July 16, 2014 I was in college, had great friends, and a wonderful girlfriend. That summer, my girlfriend and I hit a rough patch, broke up, and 2 to 3 weeks later I wrecked. I was partially paralyzed and wasn’t sure if anything would ever be the same. I had to put college off as I relearned to control my legs. I have been back to ‘normal’ for months and months now but have been depressed and have felt stuck ever since. I feel lonely, I’ve let myself go, and I want my life back. I found this podcast in one of my lowest moments and listening to your words makes me feel like me again. Well, like I actually have the option to be me again! Thank you so much Dan… You’ve changed my life.
Yeah. That’s an eye-opener right there. Because basically, you never really know what kind of an effect you might have on someone else’s life. And the same goes for other people. Just think right now about someone who really made a difference in your life. Do they know? Are they even aware of their contribution to your world? Have you ever actually told them what they did for you? Most people don’t. We don’t take the time. We don’t express ourselves. We complain all day long, but when never PRAISE people. We don’t realize that we are so connected with one another that even the smallest difference can make the biggest ripple. You know what I mean? Go back to that person who made a difference in your life. What if they stopped doing what they do because of whatever reason? What if they moved on with their lives? Maybe they have always felt that one thing was their calling in life, but because they never found out how much of a difference they actually made, they quit?
This concept doesn’t just apply to the positive, but also the negative. One of my favorite personal quotes (and I’ll admit it’s from one of my own stories) is “How can I know I am wrong if you don’t tell me?” Both the positive and the negative stem from the fact that we can’t see ourselves the way others do. We see ourselves only as we can, from inside our own heads. And other people can’t see us the way we see ourselves. We forget that other people don’t think the same way we do. We see through our own lens so much that it becomes natural, so we just assume everyone else thinks about things the same. That’s how we get so far off track with communication. We forget to pay attention and then we make assumptions.
By not getting any feedback at all, I was assuming my podcast wasn’t interesting to people. Or that nobody cared. Nobody needed to hear what I was saying. That is sucked. Whatever. When there’s a feedback vacuum, I’m forced to fill that void by making assumptions. The situation gets to be like the quote I mentioned, only instead it becomes “How can I know I’m helping you if you don’t tell me?” or “How do I know you like this show if you don’t tell me?” There’s no way to know. Remember that next time you find something you like, or something that’s helpful to you, or even life-changing. Let that person or those people know. Leave a review. Send a note. Something. Don’t assume everyone else will do it.
That’s the topic for today. The bottom line is that you should tell people when they make an impact on your life. Because THAT will make an impact on THEIR life, I guarantee it. Seeing Steve’s review allowed me to see that what I was doing with these podcasts actually made a difference, and his words inspired me to come back and record more podcasts. See how that works. We are all connected. Had it not been for those EIGHT SENTENCES from Steve, I might never have done anymore of these. How long do you think that took him to write that? Not long at all. A minute maybe. It takes very little effort to change someone’s life. Now I’m not saying all of this to get you to leave me reviews, so don’t think that’s what’s going on here. I want you to take this and run with it. Tell everyone who ever made a difference. The only thing I would caution you on is to have zero expectations when it comes to a response. You may be excited and pour your heart out, and might end up getting only a “Okay” or “Thanks?” It’s disappointing, absolutely, and it happens. So there’s that.
I actually did this one time and the guy thought I was joking. At the time I was in New York and I knew he was stationed in Colorado. I got the number to his shop and called him up one day and told him how great of a supervisor he was and how good of a role model he’d been. He listened to me say everything and then he asked me if I was trying to play some kind of prank. I had to assure him that I was sincere. That’s how rare shit like this happens. It’s unusual to get a message or a phone call like that. I have no idea what he took from me saying that, but I guarantee things are better for the both of us for me having done that. Had I not, he probably would have been just fine, but who knows? Maybe it made his day. Maybe he still thinks about that call sometimes. I don’t know. But on my end, I’m way better off having went through and done it. I’d wanted to for a long time. I feel better having told him. So Tom, hopefully that made your day at least.
And of course this isn’t limited to just the life-changing stuff. Absolutely let people know they’re making an impact. Tell your teacher they’re helping you. Tell a friend they have inspired you. Tell your favorite indie artist how much you like their stuff. Artists create things because they can’t help it, but it’s also nice when it makes someone’s life a little better. Do you like that song? Say something. Do you like that story? Damn it, tell them that. When you’re not getting paid to do what you do, then we feed off the fact that people enjoy our creations. Holy shit. There’s only so much internal motivation you can provide before it gets to be tiring. We push things out on a daily basis sometimes and can you imaging what that would be like to get no response? How many people out there actually liked a photo or a song or something but never said anything? This applies to anyone who shares any kind of gift with the world. Tell them you appreciate it. No matter who it is. Tell your spouse or significant other how much you appreciate them. Tell your mom how much you appreciated all the bullshit she went through so you didn’t die as a child. Spread it around. Go on. Get out of here.
My challenge to you today is to contact someone who made a huge difference in your life and LET THEM KNOW what they did for you. Do it any way you can. And come back next week because I’m going to talk a little more about art and some of the shitty things an artist has to go through, along with the awesome things, and how you and others can help artists. Until then, subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher and maybe even leave a review. Yeah? I don’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell me. So long.
Like these podcasts? Help me keep them going by throwing me $1 on Patreon.