Tag Archives: advice

do not teach a starving man to fish


feeding peppers to a cat

 

good words by bruce kasanoff:

“You’ve heard this old saying before: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. You may even be nodding your head in agreement right now. Sorry— this saying is all wrong.

When a person is starving, that’s not the time to fill their head with knowledge. The right thing to do is to first give the person a fish – banishing their hunger – and only then teach them to fish.

Far too often, people ignore this common sense first step. They see someone who is struggling, and they rush to offer wisdom. “Let me tell you what I’d do in your position,” a well-meaning individual might offer.

But few of us understand the anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty that comes with overwhelming need. People in the midst of personal disasters are reeling. They can’t think straight. Their nerves may be shot. Their confidence may be non-existent.

We all know affluent, outwardly successful professionals who lack confidence and – at least temporarily – the ability to think straight. Can you imagine how people must feel in the midst of outright failure?

Rushing to offer a struggling person long-term advice is a waste of time.

Instead, it makes far more sense to help them regain their equilibrium. Once this happens… once their ears, heart and mind open, then you have an opportunity to teach a new skill.

What does it take to decide whether a person needs a fish before a fishing lesson? Two things:

1.) The ability to pay attention: Is the other person open and receptive, or looking at the world through narrowed eyes that tip off just how terrified they feel inside? You can’t just take their words at face value, because claiming to be alright is a basic survival skill. You have to look at how the person acts and what they don’t say.

2.) Empathy: The more successful you are, the harder it is to imagine what it must be like to be the opposite.”

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“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”
 ~ Buddha


♥ 

subtle differences


in the several months i’ve spent in suburbia, i’ve noticed some remarkable differences from life in nyc.  here are just a few:

1. in suburbia, they have hillbillies selling furniture door to door out of an 18 wheeler, similar to the one pictured below.  they ring your doorbell and claim they’ve driven all the way up from tennessee, or some place like that, to deliver a shipment of furniture to a store.  if you haven’t shut the door in their face (which most of the suburbanites would find just to rude to do – another subtle difference) they continue on with a story about arriving at the store only to be told the store did not have the money to pay for the shipment.  then they invite you to take a look at the contents in the truck.   no thank you.

2. when i took ivan to the vet, i saw an suv with a  horse trailer pulling out of the parking lot.  i never noticed that in the city.

3. baby deer pop out into the middle of the street all the time, every single day. and people are afraid to drive in the city??

4. in the city i could count on a friendly greeting and some small talk from at least 7 people on my 6:00 am walk with ivan.  in suburbia, so far i’ve seen bunnies big & small, cardinals, blue jays, deer, chip monks, squirrels & no people.


5. even the mice are different.  the mouse currently living in my kitchen only comes out at night – never to be seen.  the only evidence is mouse poop all over the kitchen counter.  i see it every single morning when i go in for my coffee. city mice know to poop on the floor.  they are also bold enough to walk around right out in the open – even walk right over your feet  (see rodents).

6. quarters.  in nj people treat quarters like they’re made of copper & nickel, which they are.  in ny, people treat quarters like gold.  in the city, all people who make under $150,000, need quarters for laundry and parking.  lots of quarters,  and we collect them whenever possible.  we pay with dollar bills when we have exact change, just to get quarters back.   it’s a bit disappointing when store clerks give back dimes and nickels  instead of quarters.

7. one could live in just about any neighborhood of the city and be within 2 or 3 blocks of organic cottage cheese.  in the suburbs it’s a 10 mile drive to a store that carries just 1 brand and it’s not even the kind you want.  there is no place that sells frozen yogurt. no pinkberry, not even a tasti-delite facsimile. no frozen yogurt – that’s it – none. you can’t get that here.

8.  there not a vegetarian restaurant within a 4 zip code radius.  (think –  white plains to the seaport)

9.  there is no delivery.  no one delivers anything. ever.

10. in the suburbs when you ask about finding a good restaurant, people often direct you to a strip mall.  i will not dine in a strip mall.

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“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”
–  Willa Sibert Cather

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