Thursday, August 18, 2005

Words of Wisdom From A Former Seatmate

I decided to attempt productivity this evening at my old stomping ground, Starbucks, so I drove over and parked before realizing that I should have brought some blank paper for taking notes. While scrounging around in my trunk for a blank notebook, I found a blue spiralbound "fat lil' notebook" (their name, not mine) that I used back in 2001, the summer I graduated from college and made the big decision to move to Greensboro, NC for a job at the American Hebrew Academy.

Before the official move from Boston that August, I had been flying back and forth between the two cities every weekend in order to participate in faculty orientation in NC while finishing up my Sparknotes editing (along with other "hot" summer activities...) in MA. During one such plane trip, I found myself sitting next to a uniformed man with a warm, deep gaze, who immediately struck up a conversation with me. Very soon, I realized that this was no ordinary seatmate; indeed, when I asked what he did for a living, he revealed himself to be the prince (or chancellor, or some important title that I no longer remember but was impressed with at the time) of an African country (the name of which I also don't remember, but it's not important; he gave me his business card, so I knew he was legit). We proceeded to converse--chat would be too light of a word--for the rest of the flight, and as soon as we landed and parted ways I whipped out my little blue notebook to scribble down as much as I could remember from our talk. Well, mostly his words of advice, which comprised most of the talk. Here are some excerpts:

* Everyone is a messenger. We just don't all know what our message is.
* You have to be crazy--Einstein was crazy.
* Ask yourself: Does this lead to more self actualization for me? Is this fulfilling? Is this something that I could do 24 hours a day and not get tired?
* What are the beacons in your life? When you were most happy? When you were at your lowest? Summing up your life like this, you begin to see patterns emerge, threads that weave through.
* What we remember, what we cherish most are the moments when we make a difference in other people's lives.
* Don't sell yourself cheaply. Wait for the best. (I asked: How do I know when the best comes along?) You'll know. You feel it in your bones.
* It's not arbitrary--you see hundreds of people walk by, and then three come along and you say "Well, *who* are *you*? I want to know *you*"
* Make sure your needs are met. Not your wants, your needs.
* Sex is overadvertised. If you like it, then do it. If you're just doing it to please someone else, then don't.
* You seem like a two boy, one girl kind of person. (I laughed, thinking he meant some sort of threesome, but turns out he meant as in children. Seems like a good plan to me.)
* I don't have friends--I know a lot of people. Some people need friends, need someone to talk to every day. I'm more alone. Look at lions. They go about alone most of the time.
* I learned a lot from my lowest point--that if I had just had the confidence to know that I could succeed, I could have done extraordinary things.
* Life is short. Live each moment to its fullest. Make every moment *unusual*. Live *unusually*.
* Don't be ordinary. Be extraordinary.


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