Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
Helpers In Our Path
When I was young, I thought
when we grew up and reached age 21 or so your personality
“locked in” and you were who you were for the rest of your
life. Man, was that wrong. This is obvious to people my
age, but we are so different at 40 than we were at 21, and
even more different at 50 than we were at 40. One example
being – as we say so often the more we age – “If I had only
known then what I know now.” Had I known what I know now,
how different my career choices might have been, and how
different my dealings with other people would have been.
There are so many things we aren’t taught, or failed to
listen even if we were taught. Some studies suggest that
our mid-forties are a time when our lives are filled with
change. I’m one of those. Mine spilled over and went
I never cared for salesmen in my early adult years.
They were just people who were trying to get your money, and
usually very annoying. Imagine my surprise when I woke up
one morning and found that I was one.
I left my job and career when I was 45. A strange
time. I decided to do what I loved with the rest of my
days. I began to write about the people and horses who
helped me in life. In a short time, I had stacks of books
everywhere. It dawned on me one day that I needed to sell
some of them, ‘cause pretty soon I wouldn’t be able to walk
around in my house. How hard could that be? I had a
terminal degree in human relations. No problem, right? I
knew all about people, right? I remember so clearly how
shocked I was when the “sales business” taught me I didn’t
know anything about people at all. Nothing at all. Then, I
got lucky. I started meeting people…and they weren’t like
anyone I had met before.
Ever notice how when you talk to some people, they talk
about themselves, and continue to do so? Once they get the
conversational ball, they never bat it back. They keep it.
I began to notice some people didn’t do that. You could ask
them something and they would certainly give you an
appropriate response, but in no time they would bat the ball
back to you, and they continued to talk to you about you!
My sales skills improved overnight. One of many was Jim
Jim has done well in life. He’s won an Emmy, written
over a dozen books that sell all over the world, and made a
number of movies. (One of my favorites is The Ultimate
Gift.) All that is remarkable, and you learn how much
so when you discover Jim did all this after losing his
sight. I send him my column and he sends me his. Here’s a
story he shared this week…
He ran on to a study that was conducted in Starbucks.
A man sat at a table with a sign that read, “Free coffee if
you will listen to my story.” He sat there for several
hours. Not one person accepted his offer for free coffee in
exchange for listening to his story.
The next day, he sat at the same table with a slight
adjustment to his sign. This time, the sign read, “Free
coffee if you will tell me your story.” A line formed
almost immediately and grew so long, the experiment had to
be cancelled because of the number of people waiting to tell
How I wish I knew then what I know now. How I wish I
knew then what all those special people I met told me about
sales, about horses, and about life over the last twenty
years. Helpers are placed in our path on our journey. Jim
is one of many. That column he wrote was just one instance
of the countless times his wisdom has helped me – and that
story did as well. I hope it helped you, because nothing
helps us more or gains us more friends than listening with
all the muscles in our ears. Some people should leave those
muscles in their ears to science. They would be in perfect
condition… because they have never been used to hear humans
Anything you want to tell me?
-- Michael Johnson
Sharon and Rowdy