Kids teach the value, purpose, and wisdom of WOW!
It’s a small world.
Fourteen years ago I met Rob Gilbert. He was the editor of a monthly publication called Bits and Pieces. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, seen it, read it, or maybe even subscribe to it.
Bits and Pieces is a motivational, inspirational, and informative booklet that has, for decades, helped people create ideas and see things in a more positive light.
The other day I was looking at someone’s email magazine and found this story:
Last spring I was walking in a park. A short distance ahead of me was a mom and her three-year-old daughter. The little girl was holding on to a string that was attached to a helium balloon. All of a sudden, a sharp gust of wind took the balloon from the little girl. I braced myself for some screaming and crying.
But, no! As the little girl turned to watch her balloon go skyward, she gleefully shouted out, “Wow!”
I didn’t realize it at that moment, but that little girl taught me something.
Later that day, I received a phone call from a person with news of an unexpected problem. I felt like responding with “Oh no, what should we do?” But remembering that little girl, I found myself saying, “Wow, that’s interesting! How can I help you?”
One thing’s for sure — life’s always going to keep you off balance with its unexpected problems. That’s a given. What’s not preordained is your response. You can choose to be frustrated or fascinated.
No matter what the situation, a fascinated “Wow!” will always beat a frustrated “Oh, no.”
So the next time you experience one of life’s unexpected gusts, remember that little girl and make it a “Wow!” experience. The “Wow!” response always works.
Editor of “Bits & Pieces”
What an insight.
And, like I said, it’s a small world. In this case, it’s also a very affirming world. During the first five years after I moved to Charlotte, as I was building my reputation and speaking skills, I spoke for free at civic clubs and organizations. My topic was, “What we’ve learned from our children.”
My talk gave examples of patience, humor, imagination, creativity, persistence, taking risks, enthusiasm, unconditional love, blind faith, and positive attitude. I told true stories of my daughters, and what they taught me by their words and deeds. And I always ended with a quote from my then 11-year-old daughter’s autobiography that read, “One really good thing about me is I’m a very nice person, and a very positive person, just like my dad.” These words are one of the highlights of my fatherhood.
Reading that line to the audience always created emotional response, but also brought me to the height of my inner emotions. Very powerful. Very real. And very true.
Rob’s lesson is a WOW! all the way around. First of all, NO ONE responds to a negative situation or problem with “WOW!” When things go wrong, people either get defensive, look for a scapegoat, or reluctantly look for some resolve.
This story and lesson are a phenomenal insight, and a total reversal of thought — for the better. It’s an AHA! not just a WOW! And it’s simple to understand and implement. You can start doing it with your very next screw up.
For years I have taught my children and my audiences to say “thank you” rather than “I’m sorry.” It’s a positive and powerful way to present yourself in a tenuous situation or conversation. It’s a positive communication that stops a negative one. And it leads to truth rather than excuse, responsibility rather than blame. It’s my version of an attitude AHA! and WOW!
It’s interesting to me that the traditional interpretation of WOW! has been associated with some magical action or over the top event that makes people say “WOW!” Not so after this lesson.
WOW! is now a thought changer, and a mental refocus from a negative that forces a positive response or action. If that’s not a WOW!, what is? And here’s the cool part: you can begin to WOW!, NOW!
Rob Gilbert has created thousands of Bits and Pieces, but this one is in the top ten. He spent seven years on the job, and has now enhanced his personal offerings on motivation at GilbertSuccessHotline.Blogspot.com. Rob also has the Guinness Book of Records world’s most motivational phone hotline. It’s called Success Hotline and the number is (973) 743-4690. It has broadcast success messages for 6,201 days in a row! WOW!
FINAL BIT: When I gave my talk on “What we’ve learned from our children,” I also created some rules to parent by. They are short, sweet, and powerful. If you want to read the list, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words PARENTS RULE in the GitBit box.