Saturday, March 9, 2013

Be Teachable, But Never Be Gullible

    In any new business or anything in life for that matter, it’s very important to be teachable, there are a lot of things you need to learn, that can best be explained by someone who has experience. However it should end there, you should not allow yourself to be swayed in any direction that you aren't comfortable with and you should always be encouraged to ask questions (Like the age old saying, the only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask). I’m not talking about doing things that your new at and need to build the confidence to feel better about. I’m talking about doing things that just go against who you are. Don’t ever let anyone try and teach you how to think, that’s something you need to do for yourself.
  Always listen, but ALWAYS think for yourself. A great quote I use to explain this is “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” - Ralph Nader - This is the attitude any good leader will show, they will try and give you all of the tools they possess, they will always lend a hand when you stumble, they will always answer questions honestly (And let you know when they don’t have all the answers), but they want you to learn how to think and do for yourself, just like when a child is learning to walk, sometimes they learn more from falling down, you just pick them up let them know they can do it and tell them to try again. 

     A good leader won’t just give commands, they will show you by example, they will try to explain how and why they believe what they do, if not they don't know why (In most cases, they can’t answer why, because they don’t know why. They were taught by someone just like them, they are just going through the motions. Like a parrot speaks and does not know what he’s saying). A good leader will do everything they can to build up new leaders and have no need to get the credit for it. They do it, just because that’s what a good leader does and they want people to feel like they've accomplished something for themselves.

     Also if you find someone who you think is a good leader, but is just very different than you, maybe they are not the right leader for you. (Which is fine, were all different and just because someone isn't right for you, doesn't make them wrong, just not right for you) It’s important to find someone you are comfortable with, so you trust their judgment and don’t feel like you have to be weary of what they are trying to teach you. This isn’t always an easy possibility, since usually you don’t know how your sponsor will be until you're in waist deep and they were probably taught by their sponsor and so on. But in any good well formed team, you should be able to find a mentor who is willing to help you and that you feel confident in.

    I feel it’s best to explain something by trying to give a real life example so here goes, I hope it isn’t too long. It’s an experience I had by following someone that wasn’t the right teacher for me and the difference it made, when I finally found the right one.    “When I was very young around 12, I was very rambunctious, more than most and my father wanted to calm me down, so he took me to a Karate school, big mistake. I was very fortunate (or I believed at the time) to get the luck of the draw, as I was taken to one of the best styles and teachers in the world, Master “Joseph Kelljchian”, I spent many years in his school, we were the absolute best school in the state (We won every single tournament we entered). We wore black Gi’s, with a big fist patch, and other awards sewed on them, which is very uncommon as almost all karate schools wore plain white Gi's (A sign of humility). We took every trophy from every competition we ever entered. Master Kelljchian, had a philosophy of visual intimidation, that when we walked in all in black, with our reputation, we had already won half the battle.
Karate Kid - Me 1988
  This was ingrained in us at every class, to always be so full of confidence that your opponent is already assuming he is weaker than you. This followed me in life and in many ways it worked well, but I began to notice that people would always think of me as aggressive or angry, when in truth I was quite far from that. I was convinced, that I truly enjoyed being part of this huge winning team even though it always felt a little unnatural. Then one day we went to a large competition, we had over 50 students with us, we were a large school and very loud and disruptive, again part of the visual intimidation philosophy. Then I noticed Master Kelljchian seemed uncomfortable, which he never was. I noticed he was watching this small team with only 6 students and this little teacher about 5’ 5” maybe 160 pounds soaking wet (Kelljchian was 6’ 3” , 230 pounds and not an ounce of fat), who by the way I would have never noticed because they were so quiet. Then came my first Kumite or fight, it was against one of the students from that school. Before the fight Master Kelljchian, came to me and told me to take him out, when I asked what he meant, he said make sure he doesn't want to fight again. So like a good little soldier I went to do my job, no questions asked. My opponent was quite talented, in full contact Karate, it’s not like boxing there aren't rounds, it is points and fights usually only last a couple of minutes. This fight went on for over 10 minutes and I was actually losing, then in frustration my opponent said something rude to me, which didn’t mean anything, as I had been doing it all along, in our school we did it all the time, part of the intimidation. Then immediately his sensei stopped the fight, disqualified his own student and made him apologize to me and go sit down. I was actually relieved, because I was about to lose the fight, but I was puzzled by what had happened.

After about 30 minutes, I felt I had to go and ask the teacher why he had done this. He was a very humble little man, who spoke very softly. He told me that Karate wasn't invented for this purpose, it was invented by shaolin monks, who were devout Buddhists, that they would never intentionally harm or disrespect anyone. They were always being robbed and attacked by others because they were pacifists and decided to invent a way to protect themselves while still retaining their beliefs. He explained to me that you should always carry yourself properly, Karate should build character not anger or rudeness, if you win by intimidation or aggression you have only lost in life. I was so impressed by this little man, that I quit my school that day and asked him if I could please join his. That little man, Joseph Laffocco, turned out to be the biggest man I’ve ever met, he taught me how to be self confident, without having to take it away from others. He taught me that it’s so much more rewarding to build others up, than to tear them down. He made me understand that humility and kindness are more powerful than aggression. He taught us the that best way to win in life is to stop viewing everything as a contest, “the best way to win every fight is to never have to fight at all”. This man changed my life and I’m forever grateful, he didn’t just teach me how to defend myself, he taught me how to defend who I am. R.I.P. Master Laffocco.     Oh and by the way, the next five of Master Laffocco’s students walked away with 1st place in every event they entered that day, that’s when I understood why Master Kelljchian was so uncomfortable”.

    I hope this was a good explanation, I feel it’s so much better to show a positive point of view in life, than to try and tear down all of the things I don’t agree with. If you don’t agree with something, just look for something else. My point is there are many things in the MLM business that people don’t like, including myself, like aggressive recruiting or misleading tactics. But instead of judging or trying to be negative, I’m just going to try and show a different point of view. There are many roads that lead to success, just go down the right one for you and you will avoid a lot of potholes on the way.

Thank you for reading and the best of luck in all your endeavors, 

+R. Michael Gonzalez

Please ask questions or leave opinions in the comment section, as I welcome any outside opinions and will answer any questions that are made directly and honestly.

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