That moment when you realize you’re a little creepy.
I’m giving a talk tonight to 150 people in Hoboken. I was going to write a different story about August 18, 1994. In Hoboken. But something happened.
I took a walk earlier to prepare my talk and I settled into a cafe. I took out my waiter’s pad and jotted down notes for my talk. Or, now that I’m looking at my pad, I realize I have only one note: “Death Star”.
I have no idea what it means but I hope I figure it out before my talk. I remember thinking it was important but I’m suspecting I have early onset Alzheimer’s. Don’t tell Claudia or she might leave me.
A few tables from me at the cafe there was a dad reading a newspaper while his two kids played chess. Being a semi-professional procrastinator I spent a few minutes looking at their game.
Then instead of preparing my talk I wrote about 15 or so tips on how they could play better chess.
When they were getting ready to leave I walked up to the dad with five pages from my waiter’s pad ripped out and I said, “I was watching your kids play”.
I offered him the waiter’s pad pages. Then I said, “I made some notes for them.”
He sort of just peered at me and took the notes and said, “ok”. Then he left.
When I sat down I was feeling really proud of myself. I helped someone! Hmmmph!
I never tell my children, it’s always good to help others. Rather, I ask them, “Who did you help today?” This way they talk and I listen and maybe they learn and maybe I learn something about them.
Now I had helped someone! So I was feeling all good about myself.
But why didn’t that guy say thank you or throw a parade or anything like that?
I mean, I took time out from preparing for my LIFE-CHANGING talk in order to write five pages of detailed notes on how his kids could play better chess.
Then I thought about it. Maybe not the best idea to walk up to a total stranger in the middle of the day and say, “I’ve been watching your kids play”.
I was feeling shy when I said it also so not quite looking him in the eye. Then hand a bunch of ripped out pieces of waiter’s paper with probably unreadable notes written on them.
Well, they are NEVER coming back to this town is my guess.
I committed error #1 when delivering value: Establish your credentials first as quickly and concisely as possible.
If there’s an “urgent” problem you have to say why you are “unique” to solve it.
I could’ve started, “I’m a ranked chess master and here’s how your kids can improve at chess.” Very specific and quick.
Oh, and don’t be a creepy guy. Very important.
I went home to see what Claudia was up to. She was doing something professional.
She had gotten some audio equipment, figured out how it worked so now we can interview four people at a time on our podcast. She was inspired by Rich Roll ‘s audio equipment.
She was really proud of what she had done. She had worked hard and showed me all the little cords and knobs and buttons and how they worked. This would solve a lot of problems for us.
She said, “And what have you been up to?”
And maybe this is the big difference between her and me.
“I saved lives.”
(Did you miss James Altucher at the NJ Tech Meetup in Hoboken? Here it is.)
(Photo by Mike)
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