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School Talk 48 - I’ll Show ‘Em


talk covers:
I’ll Show ‘em vs Victim Role
(Audience participation is in parenthesis.)

Today we said we were going to talk about, “Let’s Show ‘Em.” Now quite often I get calls, say six a day from around the country, and somebody tells me how difficult it is to carry out any of the little exercises or experiments that we’ve passed out. To me they’re all rather simple and easy. Some of them are just to be quiet and don’t make noise. But people tell me how difficult that is, and that they’re having all kinds of trouble doing these exercises.

So I decided we’d talk about “Let’s show’em” or “I’ll show ‘em.” One of the best self-motivators I’ve ever run into is that “somebody needs to be shown, and I’m just the guy that can do it.”  So we’ll proceed to talk about that. I have found that idea works better in about any kind of situation that you might find yourself involved in.

Now many years ago, I was sitting in a hotel coffee shop one morning. I had come into town and was sitting at the coffee shop having a cup of coffee before I went to keep an appointment. A nice little old man down the street had what somebody said was a stroke. He was totally paralyzed and irrational--to say the least.

As I was drinking my coffee, I overheard two of the good brothers talking around the corner from where I was sitting saying, “I saw the old witch doctor’s car down in front of old Shorty’s house this morning.” “I guess he’ll have him uptown this week to make a fool out of all of us.” They had all said he wouldn’t get any better--that he would die in his bed. He might live a year, and the family could depend on looking after him for that amount of time.  [The two brothers referred to Dr. Bob as a witch doctor because they saw him as only talking to people rather than using medicines and such.]

So knowing that this was said about me, and not what they really believed, but only what they were hoping to believe, I made up my mind, “I’ll show ‘em.” I will get this nice old man uptown this week.”  I hadn’t even had that thought in mind previously.

I went down and went to work; and on Friday, Shorty walked uptown.  He was in his right mind and walking—a little wobbly; but he got there. So that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t overheard that conversation. I might have got him up there, but it would have taken a couple of weeks longer. I wouldn’t have gotten such a push. “I’ll show ‘em.” It gives you tremendous power when you decide—I’ll show ‘em. Now most people feel they’re victims for one reason or another.

Most of the calls I get are from somebody who has decided they are a victim. I heard from a man this morning over on the east coast that told me all the emotions he had had in the last 24 hours. He went to a theater play somewhere, I guess it was a Shakespearian play, and the first two acts were downers. By the time he got through listening to these two acts, he was fit to be carried out. In the last act where the mood finally changed, he went up. He said, I’m not in charge of my own inner state. I’m whatever happens out there. So we talked about I can show ‘em.

“I’ll feel good regardless of what’s going on if I want to.”

By the same token, you can be miserable regardless of what’s going on if that’s what you determine to show people. So we are considering that we have basically two attitudes. “I’ll show ‘em” or “I’m a victim.” About right, isn’t it?

I talked to another gentlemen early this morning, very early; and his situation was that he was a very sick man and was going to have to be treated with chemotherapy and all kinds of stuff. I tried to impress on him that he could show them he would be all right before the end of the week. We got the chemotherapy cut off so it would be the next week before they diddled with it.  Now if I can get him to say “I’ll show ‘em”; he’ll be all right by the end of the week--and he won’t need any chemotherapy. He doesn’t need it anyway, but at least he won’t be in a position to be sold to have it.

Having worked with many people who were ill through the years, most of them come up with the general idea to start with—I’m a victim.  “I’ve been attacked by this terrible illness, and it’s going to wreck me.” “I’m very unfortunate.”

But, fortunately, for some of them, we have finally gotten people to get out of being a victim. I’ve used the insult method. I will be very rude with them to a certain extent. Somebody says this and I say, “Well, why don’t you go ahead and die”. “You’ve never done anything worthwhile, and it doesn’t look like you’re going to.” “Why don’t you quit taking up space.”

They get a little upset over that, and then they will show me. If I can ever get one upset enough to show me, he’ll be all right in a week. They’ve all gotten all right. So there seems to be some magic in having a flat desire to show somebody something. Several incidents have occurred along the way, so at the expense of talking about myself a little bit, I’ll tell you a very early one.

When I was about fourteen, the good brothers decided that I had a severe heart condition and that I couldn’t possibly live through high school. So I heard this good brother laying this out on my folks. I was in another room, but it was easy to hear—there was very thin walls in the house. I heard him telling my folks that little Robert would never make it long enough to get through high school because his heart wouldn’t make it.

Well, that kind of bothered me a little bit and I thought, “Well, I’ll show you, I’ll attend your funeral you S.O.B.” I didn’t say this out loud--it would have been a very terrible thing to happen if I had. But at any rate, I decided very emphatically that I would attend his funeral, and nobody was going to attend mine for quite a long spell yet. So I did attend the man’s funeral. It’s the only funeral I’ve attended since I’ve been grown up. I have attributed that I did “make it through high school” because I was determined to show those good brothers in no uncertain terms.

So I would much prefer to be a “smarty” and be showing ‘em that things are not what “they say” rather than being a victim.

Now it seems to me that we have a choice of which one of these attitudes we’re going to carry around and express. Both of them are very powerful. I’m a victim:

“I just can’t help it because my folks did this.”

“I had an unhappy childhood.”

“I never had a real chance--my folks were poor.”

“I didn’t get the proper education.”

“I lost my health somewhere along the way.”

“I’ve never had the right companion.’

“I’ve never had the right mate.”

Three ladies so far today have called and complained that they didn’t have a lover, and I said “Well, the way you sound, who would want to be your lover.” They sound like the last rose of summer. If I was going out to look for a lady, I’d want one that was a ball of fun, not one that’s sighing—“Ahhhhhhhh”. I don’t think they heard, but I said look, why don’t you go through the bit you’ll show em—you can have the best looking man in town. Why don’t you show all these other girls that you’re better than they are? You can have any one of them. So I don’t know whether it will happen. They’d rather be victims, but the attitude is what counts.

So the attitude, “I’ll show you” is a lot more valuable than the one, “Oh, I’m so pathetic.” You know, “I’m so bad; I’ve had all this misfortune all my life.” “I was born under an unlucky star.”

One person said I was born a virgo, and you know what that means. I said I haven’t the foggiest what it means. I don’t know and furthermore, I don’t care. Do you know what a virgo does? Does anybody here know what virgo’s does? Well, she acted like it was common knowledge. I was born a virgo, so obviously that must mean that there’s something very pathetic about it. I don’t know, I thought they were all good ones anyway. I got here so what’s the difference.

So we can think somewhat in the terms of what attitude we want to carry around and express. Now I don’t know that it is the greatest idea in the world to be a “smarty” and show people, but I have seen that it leads to what most people call successful--that they can do something worthwhile for both themselves and others.

A man came in here a few days ago and said he was going to get a job in a week at the utmost. He was going to be working. I said fine. So he went and told somebody else and the other guy said, “Well, I don’t know where you can go get a job in a week or so, I’ve been looking for a job for nine months around here and I haven’t gotten one yet.” This upstart said, “Well, I’ll show you, I’ll be working in a week at a good job.” And he did! He went out there and got one.

Now, I don’t know whether he would have accomplished it without this “I’ll show you” attitude, but I know that he would not have gotten this job if he had seen himself as a victim of some imagined terrible circumstances. “My money got all out of sight.” “I’m out of funds” and everything. “There’s nobody looking for my particular skill.” Do you think he would have had a job by now? No way!  But he was out there going to “show em” in no uncertain terms. So he showed them—I don’t know whether anybody else noticed or not, but I sure did. Not because he was trying to show me because I knew he’d pretty well do that. That’s what he said he was going to do, and I figured he would. His “necessity was increased” and so that usually is a bit of a motivator.
I think your necessity is most increased when you decide you’re going to show somebody something. That about right Rick? You have worked on motivation around the world. Do you know of a better motivator?

(There’s a story about a friend of mine who really—until I knew him—had been quite worthless; but his father-in-law to be” told him he would be a “bum.” So the friend felt challenged and went out and became one of the wealthiest people I know.)

Well good--so he went and showed the old man, is that right? Maybe the old man was much smarter that you give him credit for. He didn’t want a bum for a son-in-law, and he decided that was one way to change him. The father insulted him so that he had to “show him”, is that right? So the old man probably had his daughter’s best interest at heart when he pulled that stunt. It wasn’t because he was a “mean old man.”   It was because he was pretty smart.

We hear a lot about motivation’ and, you know, you don’t motivate people by offering them prizes. You don’t motivate them by giving them raises. You don’t motivate them by giving them titles. But you do motivate them some way or other if you can get the guy so stirred up he’s going to show somebody something.

Having at one time run a rather large sales organization, I motivated the sneaky way. I’d go around and say, “Charlie said you couldn’t sell as much as he could.” He’d get stirred up and say, “I’ll show that guy.”  Man, I had me a king. He became a wheeler dealer. He was going to sell--that’s all there was too it.

And then I’d sneak around and tell another guy, “John said you couldn’t sell worth a durn.”, and boy he was on the ball. He’d show John.
So you know that’s sneaky, but it worked very effectively, I don’t know whether that would be fit to put in the books on motivation or not, but motivation is a rather worthwhile occupation.

Now we’re also motivated by “necessity.”  If we’re hungry, we’re motivated to get something to eat. As soon as we eat--well, we don’t need food anymore. A little food, clothing and shelter is about as much as motivates most people unless they get the attitude they’re going to “show ‘em”. That one is a very powerful motivator that gets people into motion in a lot of different directions. You can say well, pride did it, or you can say, self-esteem did it, or whatever you want. I don’t know what’s underneath it, but I do know that when somebody says, “I’ll show you.”  Brother—whether it is “I’ll show you I will be healthy.” “I will show you I can be a body builder.” Or “I’ll show you I can make money.” “I’ll show you I can get a job.” “I’ll show you I can get a boyfriend this week.” Or “I’ll show you, I’ll be married in six months.” Whatever it is the lady or the man is working on with showing somebody--you might say that they have made up their mind--singly.

You see, until you really determine that you’re going to show it off, whether it’s show the good Lord, or show the guy down the street, or show the father-in-law, you’re going to see that that person has made up their mind. When they make up their mind, we call that having “Faith” and having “Faith” is the most powerful energy in this world. You can get things done. If you don’t have faith sufficient to say, I’ll show you, you’re probably just thinking thoughts and mouthing words.

I used to give talks to the AA groups every now and then over in Albuquerque, and they frequently told me that old so and so says he wants to quit drinking, but what he’s really saying is that he just wants to want to quit, because he doesn’t want to really quit yet—and that guy doesn’t quit. When he really got with the program at some point, he always seemed to sober up and come out doing real well.

So again, this “I’ll show ‘em” may not be voiced out loud in a lot of cases. I doubt if the son-in-law said, in the case you mentioned,—to the old man--his father-in-law to be—“I’ll show you.”, but he sure decided it. Isn’t that right, Richard? He decided it in no uncertain terms. It was probably the most valuable conversation in his entire life up to that date; and maybe afterwards also because without it, he probably would have remained a bum—a victim. He had the victim attitude and so he wasn’t going to do anything, but the old man motivated him where he increased the boy’s “necessity” and got him to make up his mind—“I’ll show you.”  Now whether the old man did it consciously or accidentally, I don’t know.  I could care less-the effect is the same.

Seeing this, we could probably find somebody that needs to be shown every day, if we really looked at it; is that probably right? Along the way Arlene, you did a little showing here, you showed that you could go out and build a business without capital or anything else, is that right?

(That’s about right.)

Part of it was “necessity” and part of it was because everybody said Arlene just kind of “ditty bops” around and floats on; and you decided to show ‘em, is that right? Somewhere in there Arlene decided that a little “showing them” was necessary. That you could take care of your kids and everything without anybody. And you got going.

But now most of us want to wait around until all the little circumstances that we dreamed “would make me happy” just comes about with no effort on my part. Now believe it or not, this is the case that I hear more conversation about over the telephone from all over the country. Somebody’s telling me that just all the little circumstances they dreamed up hasn’t fallen in place; so therefore, they are miserable and they now are looking for what to blame that all the little circumstances in the world just didn’t fall in place over the years. They think that if all their little circumstances would fall in place, they’d be happy.

I told one person the other day if all those things had fallen into place that they had been talking about for ten years that they’d be more miserable today than they are because they would have found that there was a lot of other things that now had to fall in place “just right” in order for them to be happy.
Now furthermore, I don’t think there’s much use for this word “happy.”

Happiness is maybe a state of being that I doubt if any of us could really define. I don’t think so. If you observe happiness, you might notice that it comes in places, but is not a permanent state of being.

Story of the donkey and the knapsack

There’s a story told that a man’s donkey wandered off in the middle of the night, and the man then had to carry his knapsack down the road on his own shoulder. Also he didn’t have his donkey to ride in the middle of the day and he was downcast .

Along the way, he met some fellow in the heat, and he told him how miserable everything was, and he was so unhappy because he lost his donkey so now he was having to walk and carry his knapsack on his back.

So the stranger that he was telling all his story to invited him to come sit under the shade with him. The stranger said just leave your knapsack sitting there. We’ll sit over here under the shade and refresh ourselves. I have some water with me in a canteen.

So the stranger gave him a drink and the guy was “carrying on” (complaining). He was still just as miserable as he could be.

The stranger suddenly got up and ran over and grabbed up the knapsack and ran off with it. The guy now was in one terrible state.

The stranger that had picked up the knapsack slipped into the bushes and waited a little bit until he saw the guy coming. He laid the knapsack out in the road and when the guy found it there, he was very happy.

So the stranger came out and said,

“Now you were unhappy because you didn’t have a donkey.” “Then you lost your knapsack and continued being miserable.”

“Now you’re happy because you found your knapsack, but you’re in the same situation you were when the donkey galloped off, but now you’re happy in spite of it.”

So you see, it’s really very simple to decide that “we will have a different viewpoint”. If I choose to be a victim, I am obviously what the world calls unhappy, right? But it’s just as simple to choose a different viewpoint.  It might take a little creativity, but it can be done.

Now if I’m showing somebody something, I don’t know whether I’m happy, but I have a certain amount of satisfaction of doing it, or being on the way to doing it. I’m now “in motive” and I quit thinking about being happy or unhappy.

So I tell people if you are trying to be happy, I’ll guarantee you’ll be miserable. I don’t know whether you’ll ever be happy or not, but if you forget all about trying to be happy, you wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world.  It is a worthwhile experiment to see who you think you would like to trade places with.  If you really look at it, you might find that your much more familiar with your own life experiences and challenges.

Happiness is that proverbial thing—the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you can’t find. It’s the bluebird that you can have your wishes if you can sprinkle salt on the bluebird’s tail—all a fantasy. So in other words, it’s an illusion. It’s a joke played on mankind, and most of us have bought the ideal—the illusion. We’re trying to be happy, and who knows what it means, and why bother with it anyway.

If there is such a thing, I’m sure it’s a byproduct of not giving a ‘durn’ about being happy—that’s if there is such a thing. Who wants it anyway, it may be that all you would do is sit under a shade tree and vegetate, and that can get quite boring.

So we’ve covered a little bit of “let’s show ‘em”, and a little bit of “being a victim”. We’ve been involved in playing the victim role for a long time. Now we’re going to make a small announcement and then we will take questions.

This is the 48th tape in the weeks—one a week that we have made for the last 48 weeks. We have decided that we will change a bit for this series.
From now on there will be one class a month, and it will be twice as long. Instead of being a 30-minute tape, it will be one hour. In other words, we’ll utilize the other side of the tape that we’ve been leaving blank for your convenience—that is to put your own notes on. Now I’m going to use it up. The tapes will go out once a month to all those who subscribe to it and anybody else that wants to subscribe may do so. It will be $15. for the month instead of $10. a week and it has been the last 48 weeks.

Now we have been very pleased with the response we get from all the people who get them. Now some respond, some never respond; but we have a great amount of reply from the tapes that have gone out, and I’m very thankful for that. We also hope to hear from the people who get the one-hour tapes that come out once a month. It will come out approximately the second week of every month according to how the time element works.

So we’re going to stop here for the moment and take your questions.

(I just wanted to comment. You mentioned making up your mind and that tape has really been blessing to me.)

Well good, I’d like for you to show all of us you can make up your mind about anything Richard.

(That’s what I’m trying to do.)

Don’t try to, do it!


Show us you can do it, ok?

(I am.)
Otherwise we’ll play the role of the father-in-law on you.

(I need that too.)

Ok, in-as-much-as we’ve covered our subject and we can’t get too much conversation going because everybody seems to have found their knapsack. So everything seems to be going all right. Nobody lost anything. They can all use it.

I want to say that the exercise of doing a School Talk tape once a week for the past 48 weeks has been a lot of fun. It’s been a joy to do it, and I have some hopes that it has been of value to anybody who got it and a whole lot of value to a few. We always figure that if something is a lot of value to a few people, why it was more than worthwhile. I also hope that everybody got a wee bit.

The next tape, the first one that comes in the one-hour series will be on the subject of health. That is due to requests from a number of people that have asked us.

So if there are no further comments, we will call it a day and see you in about two weeks from now.