When I was eighteen I went to work for my dad in his furnace repair business. Other than the paycheque, working under him sucked. If I was lazy minded, or slow, he would become extremely annoyed, always criticize and sometimes yell at me. If I asked a question that just a little bit of logical deduction could figure out, he would frustratedly point this out. So basically working with him was a drag.
After two years of this abuse I quit and found myself a job at a gas station. One day the manager asked me to clean out a fridge, so I did. It took me about fifteen minutes. The manager was amazed. “Wow,” she said. “That job usually takes the other employees an hour, and you did such a great, fast job.” Really? I thought I was just doing the job that needed to be done. If it was my dad’s store he would have complained that I failed to position the products with the price tags facing forward, or I didn’t take the initiative to clean the other fridges as well. I still didn’t recognize the value of the lesson he’d taught me.
For a few years I was an audio video installer. Most of my jobs were custom installs in renovated homes. Something always went horribly wrong. Either the drill bit would break, or we would have the wrong wires, or we would mess up someone’s drywall. When I’d call my boss to tell him the bad news, he would say, “Make it happen Tony.”
Make It Happen
And somehow, we would make it happen. We almost always did. What choice did we have? We were paid to do a job and we had to make it happen. So we would go to the hardware store and buy a new drill bit, or dry wall patching gear. We would do whatever it would take to get the job done. Again, at the time his lack of involvement seemed annoying and cruel. I didn’t realize he was teaching me about being a man.
Problem-Solving, Self-Reliance, and Independent Work Ethic
When I was bussing tables I noticed that the other support staff were cutting corners; not filling water jugs, placing table cloths sloppily – all this made my job more difficult and annoying. So I would first fix their mistakes, and then I would approach the guilty party and point out the correction. After a few months the managers noticed my initiative and I was promoted to the best section in the restaurant. I was making $2500 a month clearing tables, while the guys under me were lucky to clear $1500. Instead of complaining and deferring the work to the managers, I got the job done. I made it happen, and was promoted.
As a coach I always encourage my students to work harder, and instead of asking me a question, to first try and solve it themselves. If I had asked my father how to perform a simple task, he would get pissed. “Anthony. I’m busy. Instead of asking me how to do it, try for yourself and learn.” If I had a problem I couldn’t easily solve he would ream me out. “If I go over to your problem and solve it in less than one minute, that means you could solve it in thirty.” So I learned not to ask questions until I was absolutely sure I could not solve it myself.
You might think you’re learning how to be better with women, but really you are learning how to be a better man. You’re going to have to work hard at it. And when you try something, put your back into it. Use your full capability, your full logic and problem solving abilities. If you hire a guy like me and ask a simple question like “How do you open a girl on the telephone?” or “How do you pick up asian girls?” or “How do you approach a group of girls?” I will scowl slightly and say…
“Go find out. I’ll watch. And then after you try, I will show you.”An old Chinese proverb say’s, “I read, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”
Solid advice. The next time you have a problem, before you defer it to someone above you, ask yourself, can you make it happen?