Jekyll and Hyde

We all know the premise of the story, the nice guy that turns into the monster. Jekyll and Hyde, Bruce Banner and the Hulk, whatever your favorite version of this basic story is, we all have two sides. I’m not saying we’re all murderous monsters, though.

There is a large amount of dating advice stating that women in particular should never settle for someone who doesn’t put in enough effort and make them a priority. While I agree, for either sex, it seems like this always frames the other person as a bad person.

I’m here to say that’s just not true. In any relationship, be it a friendship, romance, colleague, family member, etc., how a person perceives you depends on your connection with that person.

If I find a co-worker lazy and argumentative, I probably won’t go out of my way to help them out or find common ground with them. However, if a co-worker appears to be trying their best and willing to have two-sided discussions and learn when they have the opportunity, I’m likely going to do all I can to assure our mutual success. In one situation I’m Jekyll, the other Hyde.

Recently I was dating a girl. I was on the fence but wanted to get to know her better, because she was hiding portions of her personality. As things went on I came to realize things would never progress where I needed them to. However, I also realized that because I was on the fence, I was the monster. In that situation I was the indifferent guy putting in seemingly little effort and not worth wasting more time on because I would never commit. Admittedly, I probably seemed like a complete jerk. I’m not, but staying in a situation where I had no desire to put in any effort definitely made me appear that way. The guy all the dating advice warns you about.

However, when I met someone with whom I had instant chemistry, a mutual understanding, and just an overall better connection, I became Jekyll again. The nice man who is able to put in all the effort in the world, because that effort is reciprocated and because this woman makes me want to be the best version of myself, because that’s what she deserves. I once again was the guy that all the dating advice tells you to hold out for.

When you find the right one, the fit just makes sense. It’s true that relationships always have their hard moments, but the right connection makes things so much easier, and in some ways effortless. It’s not always easy, but because you want to put in the effort, it feels that way. A friend recently said to me “If she was the right one, you would have jumped off the fence a long time ago.”

So if you’re on the fence, realize that you need to get off that fence and find the one that has the antidote to make you back into Dr. Jekyll permanently. They’re out there, but you won’t find them if you stay hidden as Mr. Hyde, wasting time with the wrong one. If you’re on the fence, you’re not moving forward. Jump off and see where life takes you. You might just be surprised.

The First Impression

I walk in to my local coffee shop and take a seat near the window, so I’ll be able to see when she arrives. I take a seat and check the time. 5:25, good. I’m early but slightly skeptical that she’ll show, and also very nervous. Meeting people that you’ve only ever met online is a little nerve-wracking. This isn’t my first date from online, but I’ve only had a couple previous. As this women is by far the most beautiful and seemingly well-rounded I’ve met online, I’m trying to bring my A game (and self-doubt says I’m having a joke played on me).

The clock strikes 5:32 and she walks up. I stand up, we say our pleasantries and walk up to the counter to order, and there’s only one thing going through my mind. “WOW.” She’s beautiful, polite, and can hold a conversation. Anyone that’s met someone online knows that this is off to a great start. Being punctual on a first date is also a huge plus for me, so there’s that too. The conversation was easy and we both had giant grins the entire time.

“I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again”

-Taylor Swift

Ultimately this pairing didn’t work out, but for a short time it seemed like it would. That feeling where all the sappy songs are about them is a great one. However, even though we weren’t a good match, it got me thinking about the importance of first impressions. Whether we realize it or not, we place a lot of value on a first impression and there’s a lot to be learned from it.

Another first date (with a different girl), she picks the place and time, and so I show up a few minutes early. Setting the date took about a week and a half, which I should have taken as a clear sign. Communication just to make the date was… difficult. This made me think communication wasn’t important to her (while it’s very important to me). Maybe that’s an internal story, but it’s an impression nonetheless. So I park about 15 minutes early and just as I’m about to leave my vehicle at 5:58, she texts and says she’s just leaving work and she’s walking, so she’ll be about 10 minutes. Since she picked the place I had no reason to assume she didn’t know how long it would take her to get there. I’m a detail person, so when someone says a time it will take them I assume it’s relatively accurate.

10 minutes late isn’t awfuul, so that’s ok. So about 15 minutes go by and nothing. So I text and she says she is almost there. Perfect, I’ll go get a table. The place is empty so I get a spot and I wait. And I wait. Text again “Wow, it’s a lot further than I thought!” All can think is: “Really? You picked the place!” When she finally shows up she’s 35 minutes late. Apparently I’m a patient man.

As I said, punctuality is important to me, but to me this could be forgivable if: 1. She’s apologetic or at least shows remorse when she arrives, and 2. She’s punctual on any future dates.

For me, those are 2 easy things to do, and mostly common courtesy and respect for the other person. She didn’t acknowledge that she was late and didn’t seem to care. Trying to ignore that, the date went fairly well. She’s nice and we hit it off, but she’s a little reserved. Since it went well, I suggest dinner to see if it was just nerves on her side. She agrees. So afterwards I suggest a day by text after we had exchanged some other texts. Then radio silence. So I assume that’s a no and move on. Four days later I get a text, as if no time had passed, suggesting a different day. I realize that agreeing sends the message I’m okay with her lack of communication, which doesn’t fly with me. Since we’re still in range for first impressions, I decide this isn’t for me and move on.

Whether my impression was right or wrong, it was the decision I needed to make and I’m happy with it. The impression she was sending didn’t fit with what I was looking for. That may have been what she was trying to get across, or not.

Be mindful of the impression you’re sending to others, as you don’t always get a second chance to show them who you are. When you become your most authentic self, this is easy to do. And when you become your most authentic self, you find yourself surrounded by amazing people who fit in your life and find it easier to pass by those who don’t.

First impressions are critical. Show the world who you really want them to see, and you won’t be let down.

Until next time.

Don’t Stop Reaching

Whether it be a friendship, romance, or otherwise, a lot of relationships are like a ham and egg sandwich; the chicken participates but the pig is committed. What I’m talking about is the concept of the ‘reacher and settler’ in a relationship. Thank you, How I Met Your Mother.

The concept is this: one party is in some way better, and settling, for the other. Whether it be looks, intelligence, social or financial status, or any number of things. Many of us have probably been in a relationship like this. I sure have (and I won’t say how many times).

However, I disagree with this notion, at least in the best relationships. The idea that one party in some way feels superior gives them the ability to ‘slack off’, to try a little less because the other person is trying so hard to keep them around and make up for their shortcomings.

I think the best relationships have two reachers. Some of my friends have relationships in which both parties recognize their own shortcomings, as well as their partner’s strengths. The result is a union where both parties put in considerable effort, as they feel blessed to be with someone with all the strengths their partner possesses, which helps them to show appreciation for their partner as well as putting in effort to improve themselves.

I think this concept should be applied, to some degree, to all non-romantic relationships as well. The world would be a much sweeter place if we all treated each other as if there’s something amazing about them (there is), and as if we can better ourselves by showing appreciation for the unique qualities each individual possesses.

What do you think, do you want to be surrounded by chickens or pigs?

Until next time.

The Big Jump

Early in 2013, I had been going through some stuff. My birthday was approaching and I needed to decide what I wanted to do. Always slightly afraid of the big roller coaster (named The Mindbender) at West Edmonton Mall and with a moderate fear of heights, what better time to face those two things?

So that was the plan. I would face my roller coaster and height fears at West Edmonton Mall on the same day. The Mindbender is the world’s largest indoor triple loop roller coaster, and reaches 5.5 G’s on a normal run. That’ll do it. The bungee jump was the world’s tallest indoor bungee jump, at 106′ or 11 stories. I say it was, because unbeknownst to me at the time the bungee was unfortunately closed a couple weeks later to make room for a new attraction. So this turned out to be literally my last chance to do both of these activities in the mall together.

So that’s the plan. Get some friends and family together to watch/participate, and we have something going here. I can write calmly about it now, but I was utterly terrified. Putting on a brave face for those I roped in (not literally), I was figuring out how to find the courage to face two fears in big ways in the same day. Heckling and trash talking ensued as well.

The day comes and I’m all set. There’s no backing out. I make sure to eat a sufficient amount of time before, as to not have too much food in my stomach or bowels (yes, I went there) at the time of either event. Sufficiently nourished and evacuated (sorry for that image), my dad and I strap into the Mindbender. I’m shaking, and to be honest I feel a bit tall for the coaster, so the shoulder restraints have me in a crunched position. At least I won’t be falling out.

We go around the coaster, and I have to say there was little to be afraid of. It’s a huge rush, and other than one well known accident has no real incidents, so safety wasn’t much of a concern. Not only that, but it was a great bonding moment. The thing about being a talk guy in the coaster is that it feels like you have to duck. Part of he experience, I suppose. There are moments of terror, but all in all the coaster is a great rush that you want to do over and over. I didn’t have much time to celebrate though, since I had the big leap coming. Most of my limbs were shaking thanks to the combination of adrenaline and fear of the events to come.

Now, the bungee jump had two options. Strap in by your ankles and go head first, or chest and waist and end up in a seated position. From the outset I decided the best bang for my buck was going head first. After all, anyone can jump bum first. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? The process of the jump takes a while. They do it at the top of the hour, so they take you in a bit beforehand and get you your harnesses and rid you of anything you don’t need (jewelry, etc.) So I put on my waist harness and ankle harnesses. It’s a bit like walking around with neoprene ankle weights, but they feel like a noose around your ankles. This is a good thing, as you’ll be thrusting yourself off the tower soon. The attendants also weigh you with your harness on. They write the number on the top of your hand like some kind of ID number.

What you don’t know before your first jump is that (at least at this bungee tower), because of the different bungee cords they use and the counterweight in the tower they go from heaviest jumper to lightest. At 175-ish pounds with my harness, I’m about second last. When you’re shaking from the nerves, second last is not my favorite place to be. One of my friends chickens out after a few attempts to go, and does the walk of shame down the tower. I’m also one of only two guys going head first in our time slot, and the second is the last guy. From the top of a 106′ tower, the water park below is pretty cool. It’s hard to take in the beauty, though, as you’re standing their waiting for the death leap.

I get up there and the tower attendants are beautiful young women. That helps, actually. So they tie my ankles together tightly and hook me to the cord. Double and triple checks and I step to the edge. They throw the cord over the edge. What they don’t tell lighter guys like myself is that the cord probably weighs about what I do and with both ankles tied together and my toes over the edge, it’s a good thing my hands are white-knuckling the railings when they toss it, because I can feel it trying to pull me off the edge.

So I smile for the camera poolside while the cord stops swinging. Smartly, this was as close I got to looking down before my jump. More on that in a second. Now the countdown, and I jump out from the tower as instructed.

Holy shit, I did it. Now I’m free falling. Head first. What’s below the bungee tower is the deep end of the wave pool, which is relativelycakm during jumps. When you haven’t looked down before the jump,  what don’t realize is how close the bottom of the pool looks through the crystal clear water. Being an engineer, I also should have realized that the moment of maximum velocity on such a short jump is some split second just before the cord pulls you back. Or at least that’s how it feels.

So I’m falling, falling, and I clearly see the bottom of the pool at what looks like a very close distance while I’m speeding towards the ground. If you haven’t peed, I’m assuming this is the moment when it all comes out. The only thing through my mind (and probably out of my mouth) in that last second was “OH FUCK!!” as the bottom of the pool looks close enough to touch (thought I wasn’t that close to the water at all due to diving head first). The next thing you know, you’re being tossed back into the air thanks to the bungee cord. Wow, that was intense. Now you’re just bouncing around and this sensation is really cool. You don’t really have time to process where you are in space or if you’re travelling up, down, or sideways. You’re just being Superman, hanging out in space. It’s a lot of fun.

Once you stop bouncing, they lower you down and because you’re over the pool, they extend a guide line. Beforehand you’re instructed to grab the rope and pull yourself in, hand over hand. I’m a tough guy, that’s easy, right?!? Not so much whem you’ve just been thrust upside down for a couple minutes. All the blood is in your arms and pulling yourself in against the tension of the bungee cord feels about like pulling a Buick across the street with the emergency brake on. Not to mention you’re a bit disoriented.

Safely back at poolside, they take off the ankle noose and you’re free. Collect your belongings, empty your diaper, and you’re free to go.

I have to say that both adventures that day were two of the best things I’ve ever done. While it’s a bit of a slippery slope (as I want to do higher jumps and other “insane” activities), it’s very liberating to face your fears. You get this feeling of elation, and of knowing that if you can face something like that there’s not much you can’t power through.

Whatever your fear is, I truly believe that facing it will help you find your authentic and uninhibited self. This requires your full participation, but I promise if you accept what’s inhibiting you and face it head on, your life will change. The changes may not be obvious, but subtlely and eventually your outlook, decisions, and life will change if you let go of what scares you. In my case I literally dove in head first, but that’s not what it takes for everyone.

Face your fears, you won’t lose anything. But you might just find yourself.

Life Lessons From Yoga

Although it’s much easier these days, there’s still a stigma when you’re a male that practices Yoga. It doesn’t bother me, though. I think everyone can benefit from Yoga, Meditation, and psychological counselling. More on the others another time, though.

When I started Yoga I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The biggest life lessons I learned from it are:

1. Breathe.

Yep, just breathe. I truly believe that the key to life is our breath. When you start Yoga, the first thing they tell you is to focus on your breath. If you do nothing else during the class, make sure you keep your breath deep and steady. This is the same in life. If something is overwhelming, take a second to breathe. If you’re somewhere beautiful, do nothing more than breathe and soak it in. Just breathe, and experience the moment.

2. Smile through the pain

This is something I use a lot while running, or while I’m having a crappy day, or just because. Just smiling changes your outlook, and your entire day. Just by smiling you feel instantly better, and feel like you can accomplish exactly what you need.

3. Laugh

Whether it’s at yourself, something funny, or the situation, just laugh. Life’s too short to be serious all the time. Add some life to your minutes.

4. Progress is slow, and fast.

You won’t notice the little changes every day, but when you look back you’ll notice the big changes. Look back a year in your life, and see how much is changed in a year. I bet very little changed every day, but your life looks a lot different.

5. It’s easier when you’re an enthusiast.

Be an enthusiast for whatever you’re passionate about. For life. I get called crazy a lot, which I consider a compliment. People use ‘Crazy’ as a description for someone who is passionate. I’m passionate about running and fitness, so I’m crazy because I go for 5AM runs or work out at 5AM. If you’re an enthusiast, the time you spend doing those activities feels more full, and so do you.


There’s a lot to learn from almost every experience in our lives, we just have to open our eyes to the lessons.



Being the Breaker

I’ve had my share of heartbreak and ended relationships. Until earlier this year, I had never been the ‘breaker’, the one to start the conversation that thrusts the final dagger into the heart of the relationship. I had started dating a great woman who was infatuated with me, but a few key things were missing. So, after much deliberation I realized I had to break things off.

Let’s go back a bit. I’ve been different people with relationships ending, depending on the circumstances. I’ve tried to beg, change, and do anything to keep things going.  I’ve been the agreeable “yeah, this isn’t going anywhere” person. I’ve been in relationships that lasted far too long, out of fear of finding someone else or being alone. I’ve been in relationships that ended at about the right time. Each time you learn, and realize what is and isn’t healthy for you and the other party, both in a relationship and during the dissolution.

So now came the time to tear off the band-aid and face reality. Okay, I’ll consult a couple friends that have more experience in this area. So I do that, and when I get home I decide to text her that we need to talk later. You know, a bit of a heads up to not get blindsided. The text doesn’t go well, when she responds with: “Oh good, I had a terrible day and I can’t wait to talk to you tonight.” Well, fuck. This is going to be painful. I’m going to have to marry this girl. No, you can do this. Well, I was making supper but now I can’t eat because of all these butterflies. I’m texting a friend and she’s confirming I’m doing the right thing, this chick sounds wrong for me and crazy (crazy is relative, but she’s off the charts). Check and check.

Ok, the time comes to phone. I don’t think anyone is ever fully ready for this part. A little small talk, and I break out those four words nobody wants to hear: “We need to talk.” I explain my reasons, and I start to cringe because she starts begging me to stay, she’ll change, things are going great, we’re both great people, why wouldn’t this relationship work? Oh shit, I cringe because I’ve been that person. It’s both embarassing and painful for both parties at this point, and I’m getting flashbacks to when I’ve acted how she is. So I try to reason with her. Now, I’m a smart guy, but here’s what I didn’t think about: you can’t reason with an upset person! Man, woman, child, dog, whatever. When they’re upset they’re not thinking clearly and they just pick out the words that they want to hear. So she’s using pieces of what I’m saying against me. Hmm, this isn’t going well. I try to say as little as possible and just repeat a few key words “It just doesn’t feel right”, “I need things that you can’t provide.” Ouch. Yeah, I’ll just have to marry this girl. I stay on the line to let her get out whatever she has to and ask whatever she needs to, and I try to be as clear as possible without being too honest, then she eventually hangs up. Sweet, I’m off the hook. That went horribly, but it’s over. Right?

Ha. You clueless idiot, of course it’s not. About 20 minutes pass, and the texting starts. Oh for the love of god. That feeling of embarrassment comes back. Me, trying to play the nice guy, is just digging a hole. I thought she was crazy before, now she’s trying to set a high score. She texts me something nice, then angry, then something sweet, repeated over and over. It’s like breaking up with Jekyll & Hyde. This goes on for a while. The next day, she’s texting and I’m still responding (because I’m – stupidly – trying to be nice). Eventually, I just stop texting back, and that’s the last I hear (other than what I am sure was her car parked down the street from my house the next day with someone sitting in it – just watching).

Here’s what the experience taught me:

  1. You can’t be the nice guy and the breaker. You just broke their heart. You want to be nice and give them a hug and tell them everything will be fine. But it can’t come from you, so you need to fade away. At least for a time. They might think you’re an asshole, and that’s okay.
  2. It hurts just as much to be the one to tear things apart, and you’ll hate this. Don’t delay the decision, and don’t drag the discussion out. Say what you need to say, help them get some closure, and then say goodbye. In, out, done. Just like tearing off a band-aid (sorry for the bad analogy).
  3. You’ll be full of doubt, before, during and immediately after. Stick with your gut, there’s a reason you came to this decision. They might try to talk you out of it and that’s okay. Let them try but don’t budge.
  4. Nobody likes goodbyes and endings. Whether or not the relationship was right, even as the breaker you’ll feel loss.
  5. Until you’ve been the breaker, you won’t understand what that’s like. Once you’ve been the breaker, it will feel like a fog has lifted. I was able to empathize with everyone who ever broke my heart.

I’m a firm believer that the experiences we need to have are given to us. I needed to have this experience. I needed to break this girls heart to know how it felt to be on the other side. It sucks. Breakups suck. Whether it’s a friendship or romantic relationship, nobody wants them to end and it hurts from both sides. When you’ve been broken up with, you think it’s all sunshine and rainbows and so easy on the other side. But it’s not. It hurts. It grates on you. It’s different, but it hurts. You just ripped someone’s heart out and laid a big old #2 on it, that doesn’t feel good unless you’re a sociopath.

I might not have gone about things in the best way, but it was a major learning experience for me. And if you’re not learning in life, what are you doing?


If Someone Had Told Me…

I recently turned 30, and am single. I’m also very happy with who I am and where my life is. If someone had told me that this is what my life would be like 10 years, 5 years, or even 2 years ago, I would have done everything in my power to make sure that I wouldn’t be single. trust-the-timing-copyBut here I am, 30, single, and very proud of who I have become and where I am in life. There are a lot of important things and people in my life that wouldn’t have happened had my dating life resulted in life-long commitment at the stages when I had thought, hoped, dreamed, and prayed that it would.

I would be lost if I hadn’t made the amazing friendships that were made possible because of the hurt, loss, and learning that the ending of relationships brought into my life.

I honestly believe that at least once in life, but often more, we need to have our hearts broken. To have your heart ripped out, stomped out, shit on, and discarded by the person that you thought would always be by your side is one of the most beautiful things in the world, eventually – should you choose to see it that way. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you use it properly these heartbreaks are one of the best motivators to enact real change in your life that you’ll ever get.

A few months into my 30’s, I’m having the best year of my life. Of course I want to settle down and have a family, but I’m in no hurry to do it until I find the right person, and that will only happen after I become the right person. I am so happy that I reached this milestone as a single guy. I see now that I needed to learn certain things, and needed to reach this milestone alone. Everything happens for a reason, and I surely have seen in my life that things don’t always make sense at the time, but when you look back you’ll be able to connect the dots. I seemingly random chance meeting can be just what the universe ordered, at the time when you’re ready for it. Only now that I’ve faced a lot of milestones alone and done a lot of reflection on who I am, who I want to be, and what I want out of this journey, am I comfortable with myself and finally getting ready for the future that I am excited for and will slowly manifest itself.

Don’t be afraid of where you’re at, or doing things you thought you couldn’t. My 30th birthday and the subsequent months have been the best of my life, and it just keeps getting better. Sometimes, you’ll only get where you need to be by doing something you once thought you couldn’t. Trust that what you want and need won’t pass you by, but will come to you at the right time. This outlook makes all the difference.

If someone had told me I would be single at 30, I would have done all I could to make sure that didn’t happen. Today, I wouldn’t change a thing.


Things the wrong people taught me

I recently had a romantic relationship end. Again. This time I saw it coming for a while, which in hindsight was a welcome change. I tried to do all I could, but it was inevitable as there were incompatibilities and we aren’t the right people for each other at this point in our respective lives. However, it was a great learning experience that taught me a lot. Of course I’m sad at times, but I’m grateful for all the good memories and experiences we shared.

In the beginning the relationship was great, and gave us both exactly what we needed. In the end, it ended up being a learning experience for all involved, especially myself.

In no particular order, here’s some of what I’ve learned through the ending of several past relationships:

  1. No matter how hard you try, if it’s the wrong person it will never be enough.
  2. Your heart and stomach will tell you it’s not working long before your head will. Believe them.
  3. Sometimes, you get stuck on the idea of what can be instead of what actually is.
  4. No matter what someone says about how they feel towards you, pay attention to their actions. Their actions tell the honest story.
  5. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Don’t think you can change this.
  6. Don’t ignore red flags or think you can overcome them.
  7. The break up will hurt for both parties, no matter how amicable it is. No one likes or wants to go through a break up.

Of course that’s not an exhaustive list, just some of the main points on my mind right now. If you’re going through something similar, don’t give up. At one point that person was all you wanted in the world, so don’t write you relationship off as a failure or a waste of time. No matter what happened it gave you good memories and experiences, and taught you a lot. Remember the good and the bad, and use it to propel yourself forward. You’ll find that great person you are being prepared for. In that vein, I’ll leave you with a quote from a blog post I recently read from a great blogger.


“We are all familiar with the old adage, “Everything happens for a reason”. But the opposite is also true. “Everything doesn’t happen for a reason”. When something doesn’t work out according to plan, it’s natural for us to feel upset, slighted, or unfairly punished by the universe, but when you eventually get through it and look back, in retrospect you realize how one door didn’t open because you were meant to walk through another.”-Amy Chan,


Heartbreak will always hurt

You go through a heartbreak and think that the next time you’ll be better and it won’t hurt. But it does. Why? I told myself I wouldn’t hurt the next time, I tried to do all the right things and be all I could be! But every time a relationship ends it still hurts. It hurts because it mattered. It hurts because your heart was invested, and you courageously took the chance by putting it out there again. It will hurt every time, maybe differently, but it will hurt every time. At times it will feel like you can’t make it through. You can and you will. If you use the pain as motivation you’ll come out stronger, wiser, and more aware.

“Understand that it is okay for people to be in your life for a short time. You may love them with your whole heart. You may have the most fun you’ve ever had with them. They may feel like your missing puzzle pieces. But people come and people go, and you’ve got to be okay with that because in the end, it’s out of your hands. Learn to enjoy them while you’ve got them.”-Anonymous

Yes, it hurts now, but use that pain to motivate you through it and become a stronger and smarter person.  If that person wasn’t the right one, someone else will come along who is. It’s in the pain we find motivation to become the right person for when that person does finally come into our life.


Engineering Your Life

As I grow older, I find that a persons profession really shapes the way they approach life. This may be obvious to some, but it has taken quite a bit of learning for me to really realize the impact your profession has on your life. The best example I have is, of course, my own. I’m an engineer. My work requires me to be detail oriented, a perfectionist, think critically, and examine and consider every detail. Being an engineer, social convention would say that I also have poor (or no) people skills, and that I need to be a huge nerd. We’ll get to that later.

Being detail oriented and considering every detail can make decision making in personal situations difficult. It can also make finishing or starting projects at home difficult, as if everything needs to be perfect, it can either take forever, or I don’t want to even start. Trying to be less rigid in personal life is difficult. However, as I get older I also realize that being an engineer gives me the skills and training that sometimes allow me to see life’s challenges in a different way. Something is impossible to move, you say? One word: Leverage. This works for a lot of situations, including people. I’m not talking about blackmale here. Assume that you will eventually need to ask a favour from every person you meet, would this change the way you interacted with them when you first met them? Would this change the way you treat them? I hope the answer would be no, and that you would always treat everyone you meet in the same way, but the truth is that for most of us, this would change the way we treat them.

Where’s the leverage when you need a favour from someone that you’ve never given the time of day, or never been nice to? What inspires them to do that favour for you? Now, if it’s someone that you have always been nice to and done things for when asked, would your chances be better or worse? Better, of course. Doing something for some one can be as little as smiling at them in the morning, chatting with them, or taking an interest in their life. Even the smallest gesture can make a difference.