I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full-speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good...
~ Roald Dahl
There are times where years may have passed since you’ve thought about a particular subject or topic and then within a short span of time that same subject reoccurs multiple times.
This past week was one of those times for me.
When my two children were young, we all used to watch movies together as a family.
Needless to say, these movies needed to be appropriate for all ages, so we ended up watching many a Disney or Pixar movie as well as farce comedies or other animated feature films from our home library of VHS tapes.
Since we were the proud owners of these cinematic gems, we had the ability to watch my children’s favorites over and over.... and over and over... and over and over...
One such favorite movie of my daughter was Matilda, adapted from the book of the same name, written by Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl wrote many other memorable children’s books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and Giant Peach, and The BFG.
The movie centers on a brilliant young girl (perhaps about 7 years old) who has despicable a father and mother who neglect her well-being, but Matilda, being ultra- resourceful manages to fend for herself without much effort.
School offers her no escape as it is run like a prison camp by an evil principal, Miss Trenchbull, who has the physical appearance of a female shot-putter from a former soviet bloc country and who terrorizes disobedient students by placing them into medieval torture devices as corporal punishment.
Matilda’s only sanctuary is her classroom, where her favorite teacher, Miss Honey, helps to protect her children from the ominous Miss Trenchbull...
One day, Matilda discovers by accident that she has a strange telekinetic power that allows her to move objects by her own thoughts.
As a close friendship ensues with Miss Honey, Matilda entrusts her with her special secret.
Shortly thereafter, Miss Honey helps Matilda to learn to control and refine her telekinetic abilities.
Together they hatch a plan to use Matilda’s powers to torment the evil Miss Trenchbull, causing her to leave town in a flurry due to a series of "unexplainable" events.
Additionally, Matilda’s parents, being pursued by legal authorities for crimes committed against the local citizenry, also need to leave town rather quickly.
In the end, Matilda’s parents give Miss Honey authority to legally adopt Matilda... allowing both Matilda and Miss Honey to live happily ever after.
As I mentioned earlier, the reference of Matilda arose not once in random conversation, but twice, all within a week’s time.
The first mention had to do with some of the medieval torture devices employed by Miss Trenchbull...
...but it was the second reference that captured my attention.
A gal friend of mine, Cheryl, and I were in deep discussion regarding a career change that she was hoping to make soon.
For the last couple of decades, Cheryl has had several jobs pertaining mostly to customer service.
The phone on her desk would ring, and she would answer it, helping the person on the other end to solve a problem in her own empathetic and responsive manner.
She is very good at what she does.
Her employer has taken notice of her innate abilities and has offered Cheryl a sales position at the company with the idea that if she can translate her customer service skills into sales skills she will greatly benefit the company and herself.
This new position has a base pay slightly higher than her current salary but with commissions it could potentially help Cheryl to double, triple or even quadruple her current earnings.
When she described the situation to me, I really couldn’t see a significant down-side to her taking this new sales position.
She explained that although she was really good at her job, she felt a lot like Matilda (and then asked me if I had ever seen the movie).
Cheryl went on to say that she has been really successful in customer service because she had special powers (empathy and resourcefulness) but that she had never really trained herself to control these "powers".
"I just help people... but I really don’t know what I’m doing", she said with a somewhat embarrassed looked on her face, "helping people solve their problems just comes naturally to me".
I smiled back at her and tried to explain that sales is nothing more than helping people solve a problem... the only difference is that instead of the customer recognizing that they have a problem and them calling you to solve it... you need to discover what the problem is before they know that they even have a problem.
With a reassuring tone, I told her, "It’s all about asking questions, problem solving and building trust... knowing that you’re the one who will actually get it done in the end...
...and let’s face it... you’re really good at that... whether you can control the power or not...
If you work at it, you’ll start to harness the power that you innately possess and then at that point, you’ll be unstoppable!"
What I figured out a long time ago is that almost everyone has a special power...
Some people have a good eye for color, balance, detail or the big picture.
Other people can fit into any social environment and effortlessly join into a conversation.
Some people like to work with their hands while others enjoy solving complex problems both creating something from nothing.
It is a sad commentary that so many of our young people are being pushed into fields that they really have no unique talent at the expense of ignoring what they are really good at.
Not every child is destined to become a computer scientist, medical doctor, or engineer.
Some of these kids have talents to become a great tile setter, welder, or auto mechanic but are never given the opportunity to hone their talents into doing what best suits them.
The really wonderful thing is that we all possess individual powers and that is what makes us truly unique human beings.
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we try each day to share our special powers with the world around us...
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