My Greatest Lesson in Human Nature…..

Morning Folks!!

We are all held hostage to “Human Nature.” Human nature is a prediction of a reaction by someone before it actually occurs. You know the reaction. It’s a knee jerk reaction that can usually be predicted with great accuracy. Someone spits in your face, you spit in theirs. An eye for an eye. Screw you! Screw you! Asshole! Asshole. He cuts you off when driving and you return the favor. Or if you think you are civil, you may just give them the finger.

We all have the ability to fight human nature. To throw human nature a curve ball and therefore get a different result. Human Nature is akin to gravity. It is very hard to defy gravity but we have learned to do just that with many things. It’s not easy. It’s a tough thing to LEARN how to do but once you learn you have the ability to do things that others cannot.

Here is an example. It’s a silly example. But it is also the one I remember more than any other in all my life. It taught me more than anything else. Really. From this simple story my life changed in a way that I don’t often share.

Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and as recent as just a few years ago before they closed up, there was a deli in Miami Beach like no other. This place was a legend. Sometimes the wait to get in for breakfast was an hour long. Folks flocked from all over the country when they came to Florida for a place called the “Rascal House.” The stories of the history of the Rascal House alone are mind blowing. A lesson in business for all to learn. Google it. It will probably be there. But Wolfy Cohen was a legend in South Florida. His fingerprints were on many a business. But this post is not about the Rascal House nor the legend himself. This post is about “Stella” the waitress.

Stella was one nasty piece of work. Never a smile. I was not in the mood to deal with it. I was hungry and I just wanted to get my order and be done. Now I ate at the counter of this deli for many years. Dating back to about 1973. When I came home, everyone knew where to find me. Breakfast at the Rascal House. Sometimes as early as 5AM when they opened and even then there was a line to get in.

Well one morning Stella was taking care of me, or actually was not doing such a good job. We did not have words but the back and forth tone was not the best. In those days the breakfast special was 99 cents. For that I can’t even list here how much food they would give you. Danish, rolls, bagels, rye bread, three varietys of Danish. 3 varieties of bread. More stuff that I even forgot about. All for 99 cents. Most left a quarter tip and thought they were doing good. I always left $1 for my 99 cent meal. That was me. But then this one day we had both had enough of each other. I could have stiffed her. Most would. It would have been human nature. It was what I wanted to do as her overall attitude really pissed me off. Then I did something different. I fought that human nature reaction. Instead of stiffing her. Instead of just leaving my $1 customary tip, I left her a $5 bill and left.

The next time I came there, and every time I came there for the next 30 years, this waitress would see me come in and she would drop what she was doing and bring me my cup of coffee. She became the smiling “Stella'. Still with her less than warm demeanor with most, but the brightest smile imaginable for me. So that taught me a really great lesson in life. Trying to break the mold. Trying to defy Human Nature. It won’t work in every situation and some situations the middle finger still work just as well. Instead of reacting I just say something like sorry you are having such a bad day. I'd rather tell them to 'Fuck off' but what's the gain? But hey, we are all human and sometimes we fly off the handle. It goes with the territory. I have yet to meet a person that has never made an asshole of themselves at sometime. In this there are 2 groups. One group understands this and one group does not.

It’s okay to rub folks the wrong way sometimes. I have a phrase I use….”Time is my best ally.” When you speak freely and frankly it rubs many the wrong way. But in time that wrong rub takes on a different characteristic because fair minded folks see consistency and honesty and eventually a respect builds. Others are much more charming and personable. They get along with more people and make friends much more easily, but then they screw you at some point of their choosing. They leave you on the short end of the stick. Usually with your money in their pocket. But they are charming. So you excuse getting screwed over by them and continue on. Some will get screwed again and again. I have seen this phenomenon for the past 35 years. So which one has more credibility? Your good friend that takes advantage and screws your ass or a loud mouth like me that you can take at face value because I say what I think and sign my name to it? I may have a number of detractors out there. Most never met or even talked to me and few if any have done an actual business deal with me. That’s okay. But none of them can articulate a single deal that I ever did with them that went bad. It’s the thoughts that they can’t deal with. In time even they come to respect that a person has more value sharing a thought even when it is provocative than to be a wall flower and never rock the boat. The Internet comes down to one word. CHARACTER. Your character, my character is our reputation. Our legacy. Our words, thoughts and deeds. They live on long after the day is over. Einstein said: 'Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression;
in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be
spirit of tolerance in the entire population.'
Good luck with that one. We live in an era of intolerance. An era that every word has to be politically correct. Folks have put themselves in a box and human nature is keeping them there.

I give folks a choice. I can tell them what they want to hear and be Mr. Popular…..or I can tell them how I really view a situation. Now when I am asked, I just give them the choice….'Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear or do you want to hear the truth as I see it?' Does not mean I am right but I figure I have no value in bullshitting somebody. But it is their choice. When I write, the choice goes away. But the value does not. The reactions are human nature and predictable. Seeking out others that can understand and defy human nature is an interesting experience. Folks that can understand playing the role of the 'Devil's Advocate' to find answers. Life is about doing great things. This era is about doing great things. Folks reading this have the resources and the smarts to take advantage of the world right now. To make fortunes. To create need and demand. The era is laced with opportunity. It is also laced with fear, with anger, with reacting in a predictable manner when human nature is in charge and you are not. This is not the time to be controlled by human nature. This is the time to fight human nature. This is the time to take the risk of a lifetime. This is the moment. This is the window and when it closes it will happen so quickly it will be hard to believe. Things are going to continue to be bad, but folks are now capitulating. They are giving up. They are facing reality and that is the foundation of the opportunity out there. Point is to defy Human Nature as much as you can and at the points where it can pay dividends. It may not be easy to do, but if you can conquer it, you can conquer the world.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

16 thoughts on “My Greatest Lesson in Human Nature…..

  1. Tour de Frank

    My Greatest Lesson in Condensing the above post…..
    In a dog-eat-dog world, do not do unto others as they do unto you. Resist the temptation to bite back and, instead, combat snarls with tolerant smiles. Understand a wagging tail does not always signal friendly dog. The defining character trait is heroic indifference to fleas under the skin. – Frank

  2. M. Menius

    Speaking frankly, but honestly, sets the best tone. I like the old adage”Let’s agree to disagree”. When I’m right, I’ll tactfully argue my point. But just as easily let it go when it makes sense to move on. If I’m wrong, I’ll adjust my view and concede the better point.
    On your act of kindness toward the moody waitress, that’s what more of us should try to do. I deal frequently with people who have serious personal problems. Tolerance and kindness go a long way. Most of us would be surprised at what others are dealing with in their private lives. If we knew, it would cause us to pause and act as you did with Stella.

  3. Duane

    This is one of the best post’s I have read, and it does not matter where in the World you are it’s the same game everywhere.
    It’s better to have the true thoughts and honest opinion to better things than the bullshit which keeps one in the dark.

  4. frank

    What a great post..I have actually been thinking of these similar situations lately as well as people become more agitated due to the messed up economy. Win them over with kindness!..Not kindness by telling them what they want to hear or by letting people take advantage of you but by being a gentleman or a lady in a situation where you might not normally be. It is very powerful and ripples out through the world.
    Great memory of Rascal House by the way! I visited there with my dad in the 80s and his friend got us right in as there was at least an hour wait..All the Miami dudes with the skipper hats had that place on lock..awesome

  5. David

    Nice read, thanks Rick. The $5 waitress tip was an excellent example on achieving success thru kindness.
    Agree it is hard to be popular when you tell folks the truth because people act like they don’t want to hear the truth.
    I am kind of like you in that regard and also enjoy playing the Devils Advocate, so much so it often does not get taken well by folks who only want views of things reinforced and not contrary even though they may be wrong.

  6. UFO.ORG

    I’d say that most people interested in the web are likely the types that always were interested in business from an early age.
    When I was 13 I started pumping gas at the local station, I learned a lot about people and how they treat people in the service industry.
    I always noticed that the professional types would tend to do their own windscreen and not really make you run around. The people that were less well off would treat you well and would always be up for a talk. However, it was the middle managers who had something to prove who would treat you like dirt.
    That’s why I’ll always treat service industry people well; they are all people and have things they’d prefer to be doing rather than taking BS from people.
    Talking of reverse psych I was down in Thailand on my way Downunder and for 350Bht I could catch the taxi outside the Hotel and I knew it was really only 250Bht so I said it should be lower, the guy at the door pointed me down the street if I wanted less, so I walked with my luggage. Anyway, when I got to the airport I gave the taxi driver 500Bht and he almost wouldn’t take it, but when he did, he was so damned happy, shaking my hand etc.. It was worth it for that alone. Just to see a second liner (That’s not allowed onto the Hotel forecourt) get a better pay day.

  7. Jeff Hawkins

    Nice post Rick. People do have bad days and they do make mistakes. That 5 dollar bill might have been real important to that waitress that day. More important than just a really good tip. Maybe her car was broke down. The phone bill due or something like that.
    As to mistakes, my wife and I were walking across a parking lot when a lady backed out and almost hit us. We could have got mad but the lady just plain messed up and didn’t see us. I smiled and waved when she did finally see us and could see a sheepish grin and a”I’m sorry” in return. Worked for me.
    We bought two little boys brand new bicycles for just $17.00 each today. It was my idea, but I’m out of work right now so Pam found them and my brother-in-law actually paid for them.
    I’m kind of stunned by how that all happened. My idea, my wifes bargain hunting, my brother-in-law deciding to pay. All came together to do a good turn and make two little boys happy. And I got to share a smile with a stranger, too. It’s all good.

  8. Anunt

    Rick, you keep saying,”This is the time to take the risk of a lifetime.” Can you please share with us in your next post the big risk you have taken in these tough economic times besides buying those cheap under $10k domains…have you taken any big risks recently? Please share with us!

  9. Altaf

    Great lesson!
    Offering TIPS works well everywhere & every situation.Hope those,whom you pointed to, got your point & learned some thing & be ashamed at large.
    Have a nice day !


    Great story Rick, thanks for sharing.
    I like that fact that your posts are not just about domain names, but life and business as well.

  11. Anthony

    Simon Cowell adopted your philosophy, I love it!
    Rick, I resist the pull of popular sentiment, as well.

  12. Robbie

    Excellent post Rick – Byfar one of your best – This isnt just a story this is a lesson for all to learn!


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