Category Archives: Listening

Happy New Year!!

Life is a constant game of checks and balances, as well as perceptions, which vary depending on our life experience.

This BLOG is a RANT, and as such can be perceived by some as negative, feeding back into the endless debate over whether the glass is half full or half empty.

I have suggested to those who are offended, mostly because they see themselves in my comments, that they are welcome to abstain from reading it, as THEIR negativity is not welcome.

There are many followers however who view it as a sanity check – their own – in a world gone mad.

In my daily life I speak to and meet an extraordinary cross section of the population, every colour, shape, size and walk of life. From Billionaires to shop clerks and everything in between. In business I meet extremely well educated individuals from every corner of the globe, and in doing so, I find myself in every corner of the city as well meeting with people, so it is NOT the view from an armchair, but of living life.
You might try it sometime.

If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that EVERYONE has something to share.

From the Doorman who speaks 5 languages fluently, is dressed in designer clothes straight from the pages of GQ, is worth millions, and holidays in St Bart’s and Japan.
The coffee stall owner in a London Street Market who is now worth millions, but arrived penniless.
The Philippino Engineer whose father risked his life so his children could come to Canada for an education and a better life.

The list is endless. The difference is that I actually SPEAK with people, hear their stories, look into their hearts and their eyes.

Try meeting some of them, they are all extraordinary in their own way.

Happy New Year!!

Christmas Returns

The mad panic to shop for Christmas is now over, now come the Boxing Day Sales and the millions of returns.

Shop-keepers are ‘braced’ for the annual onslaught, having hired extra staff and security guards.

WHY???

I simply do NOT understand how hard it is to actually purchase appropriate gifts for Christmas or anything else. If people paid even a modicum of attention to the likes and dislikes of their family and friends, this would become a thing of the past. The only true excuse for a return is the wrong size or colour. But then again, why on earth would you buy a RED sweater for someone who absolutely DESPISES red??   Wool for someone with allergies who only wears cashmere, …chocolates with nuts for someone with a NUT allergy……..

From the time I was a child, people have given me totally inappropriate and unwanted gifts and expected me to not only say ‘Thank You” but also actually mean it.

I guess the look on my face was a dead giveaway!!!  I will never be a poker player!!… particularly when you are holding a DOLL in your hands which you are about to go outside to smash into smithereens.

You bought me a DOLL!?!?!

REALLY???

You bought me a frilly DRESS?!??!

You MUST be joking…..

You bought me a RED WOOL Sweater??

Great………I hate RED, and am violently allergic to wool.

You gave me chocolates with NUTS???

Seriously??!!??

How HARD is it to actually listen?? Is the gift about the recipient of the ego of the donor?? At times, it is unclear.

I know that I am not the only one who feels this way, otherwise the shops would not have to hire extra staff, security guards, and impose rules about returns.

If you actually CARE about someone, try LISTENING to them. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes.

Please do NOT be condescending and use the old tired adage, “ it is the thought that counts” as it is truly offensive. If there was actually any thought, the gift would not be in process of being returned.

Several of my friends have told me over the years that I am the ONLY one who ever gives them gifts they actually want and enjoy, and, guess what, they end up returning nearly ALL the gifts they receive from everyone else.

Years ago, I was the President of a professional organization where we hosted high caliber speakers on a monthly basis for our luncheons and conferences. I took the time to ring up either the wife or secretary of all our speakers and actually ASKED what they would enjoy within a certain price point. Apparently I was the only one to ever do that. The CIO of a large railway who was an extraordinary speaker became a regular fixture at our events. His wife kept a list for me of items he wanted for his sailboat, and he was absolutely thrilled. One day while visiting his office, he opened several huge drawers in his secretary’s filing cabinet and showed me box after box of cheap pen sets, framed lithographs, and cheap oil paintings as well as other utter nonsense he had been given, non of which was of interest. It would be checked for nametags and given to charity.

Thousands and thousands of dollars of unwanted gifts, because NO ONE actually thought to inquire as to what he might actually like.

Just how many cheap pen sets do you think he wanted?? How totally unoriginal.

As CIO of a large corporation, if there was one thing he did NOT need, it was cheap pens.

He is but one of several executives who told me the same thing. One other senior executive would place everything on a couple of desks and invite the staff to help themselves. He kept nothing. There was never anything remotely of interest.

For myself, I have NEVER played with dolls, continue to absolutely HATE dresses, as well as the colour red.

So, as you stand in line totally frustrated by the time you are wasting with your returns, try spending the same amount of time to contemplate gifts that will please the recipient in the future.

It is really NOT that hard, and is certainly appreciated.

And maybe, just maybe sometime in the future, returns will be a thing of the past.