Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's fortune: January 26, 2011

Today's fortune: Your friend or partner is needing your advice and encouragement.

Today was the closest I'll ever come to feeling like a zen master. I was dropping wicked good advice and encouragment on everybody around me, whether they asked me for it or not.

Actually, I was probably downright obnoxious about it.

This is one of those fortunes I had to actively pursue, because I was worried nobody would seek me out for advice today. So I simply asked people around me if they needed any advice or encouragement.

At work, I started with my friend Luke. He said he couldn't think of anything specific he needed advice for. "Why don't you give me a piece of advice you would consider valuable?" he asked. "Like, something really awesome."

I thought about it for a few minutes, and decided to start my advice-giving marathon with something I knew well: marriage. Luke is single, so I gave him advice about selecting a spouse.

"Marry your soulmate," I said. "If the person you marry is your best friend, you'll always want to be around her. I think a marriage has a much better chance of being successful when the couple not only loves one another, but truly likes one another."

I was off to a good start. After advising my friend Quincy about how to handle a particular co-worker, my buddy Ty chimed in with his own advice request.

"I have a mole on my left butt cheek," Ty said. "I'm nervous it may be cancerous. What should I do?"

After I made sure Ty was joking, I told him to go down to the HR department and have them take a look.

Micah, the guy who sits next to me, actually did approach me to ask for advice. He knows I have a journalism background, and he asked me what he needed to do to publish a classified ad. I pointed him in the right direction.

When I inquired upon my friend Dejon, she applied a pretty loose definition to the words "advice" and "encouragement." She asked me to make her widgets for her so she could go home. Instead, I gave her some generic advice. Dejon seems like a leadfoot to me, and I know she has a long commute to work each morning, so I told her to drive slower.

"I do drive pretty fast," she said. "Okay, I'll drive slower, but just one mile per hour slower."

Every little bit makes a difference, I replied. That one mile per hour could save her life. You never know.

I also inquired of my Facebook friends. My old buddy Alfonso responded with this advice request:

"So I have this coupon for 15% off any one bottle of liquor at Binny's, but I only have one coupon and it's only for one bottle. I planned on buying a bottle of Whistlepig Rye whiskey but I noticed I'm almost out of Broker's gin. I really want to flirt with the rye whiskey, but gin is my workhorse. I love the gin but I'm pretty sure I'll love the rye too."

My response: "Go with the rye."

I had the advice portion of the fortune covered. I was scrambling a bit for encouragement. I plan on encouraging my wife, who's currently applying for a few part-time jobs. She has interviews tomorrow for "para" positions at a couple of schools, and tonight I will heap the encouragement on her.

But to be honest, I would have done that anyway.

Back at work, near the end of the day, I finally found someone who requested a pep talk. Katie, one of my trainers, asked for encouragement to go to the gym and work out. She said she feels guilty when she doesn't, but sometimes she just can't make herself do it.

(I'm assuming Katie asked me about physical fitness encouragement because she admires my rippling abs and rock-hard pecs.)

I told her she shouldn't focus on the guilt she feels when she doesn't go. Instead, I posed a question:

"Have you ever worked out and said afterward, 'Geez, I sure wish I hadn't worked out today?'"

"Never," she replied.

"There you go. Focus on the positive feelings you get after working out, not the negative feelings you have if you don't."

She paused for a moment and said, "Wow. Thanks. That's exactly what I needed."

By doing something silly and following a fortune and asking people if they needed encouragement, I was actually able to help somebody for real.

I've been doing this blog for 26 days now. I've already seen a difference in my own life, and in tiny ways I'm able to make a difference in the lives of those around me.

If I get nothing else out of this project, I will consider it a huge success.


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