Before continuing I just realized that it was Thanksgiving holiday in the States. I’m not too worried about it but it does take me back to a year ago when I was in Bangkok all alone for the first time on the holiday. This second one I meet with a shrug & indifference. The longer I am away from the US the less American I feel.
Of course I have no idea where I will be for next Thanksgiving which I find quite entertaining. Probably alone as well but anyways, hi future Kingston.
Why Would Anyone Care About You?
You know before I left for Africa, I had created this little script which I coined my 30 second pitch which I had rehearsed to a reasonable degree. Whenever I introduced myself to some new people I met, either in person or on the phone, I would use this pitch in some way or form. And I would be met with a lot of blank stares and indifference.
It goes something like this:
Hi my name is Kingston & I’m from San Francisco, CA, America’s tech capital. I have worked in many different career fields in my recent past. This includes being an accountant, author, school teacher, university guest lecturer, farmer and street musician across 3 different continents. I call it a global MBA.
I came here to Tanzania to seek business opportunities, employ local people and create domestic products. I’d like to meet with you to learn more about the challenges you face in your industry and see if we can find a connection.
Even If You Are Bill Gates, They Come First
Last month when I was still drafting this in the States it did not occur to me. But now it has. The past few years of my life may have been interesting enough and packing it into 30 seconds makes for a information rich sound bite. But no matter how interesting, the fact of the matter is that no one cares.
To expand on that, there are several reasons why people don’t care. First off, in the non native English speaking world specifically, there is the obvious language barrier. Dissecting your life story requires a significant additional amount of brain power and why should they invest it in you when they don’t even know who you are?
Secondly and more universally, people are self centered. Its a fact of life. And no matter how interesting your story is, the other person will always think their life is more worth listening to. And that brings us to a key issue, listening, most people just want to be listened to. People will only care once you have showed how much you care. Or as Stephen Covey put it, “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Even after all the listening, I’ve found many people still won’t be too interested in your points of view or what you have to say. Again, that’s just the way people are.
How To Get Them To Care About You
Wanting them to care about your life is merely seeking social validation that the way you lead your life is worth leading. And should you really need others dictating your life?
Instead, what I’ve found is that you remain grounded in your truth, whatever that may be. You have your goal and work towards it. With that in mind, let people talk, encourage them to explain their problems, talk about their interests. And when you hear an issue they’re having which something in your repertoire can help solve, that is when you pull out a piece of your “30 second pitch.”
Now that they know you can help them, that is when they become interested in you.
Kingston S. Lim
November 25, 2020
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
About Kingston’s Journey Series: Kingston’s Journey is a lifelong series. This is the travel journal I take with me. Whether you have questions such as how to change my life or how to travel the world, I think you’ll find value in the life lessons I’ve experienced and documented in this travel notebook. They may serve as travel inspiration for you. In Chinese, there is a saying, “讀萬卷書,不如行千里路.”
This means, instead of reading ten thousand books, why don’t you walk a thousand miles. This is my inspiration to travel every nation (or as many as possible) in my pursuit of my global MBA by learning as much as possible and recording these life lessons learned only by travel. In the end, I think the achievement of dreams, personal growth & aspirations out there through travel and adventure will lead to a more fulfilling life. Living and experiencing the “now” is how I’ll make my life a great memory in the future.