I didn’t have to look far to find these “scripts”.  I’ve played each of them many times before in conversations with friends and colleagues, and expect that I’m in good company.  Most of these are not scripts that nourish relationships, cultivate friendships, build self-image, or free up our positive creative energy.  And yet how often do these scripts guide our behavior?

My suggestion — Try playing each of these scripts for a day.  Rehearse your lines, and be prepared to deliver them with passion and energy.  But stop short of speaking.  Think twice, and experience how the “real” you can best come forward.

Have I left out one of your favorite — or least favorite — scripts.  I’d love to hear from you.  Post on this blog, or e-mail me.

  • Woe is me — Let me tell you all that has befallen me this week, the people who have been so mean or thoughtless, those who I thought were my friends, but finally showed their true (selfish) colors.
  • Gratitude — I’m so thankful for you as my good friend, and you’re part of a community surrounding me.  Stuff keeps happening, but I’m glad that I’m not alone.
  • Entertainment — I’m an entertaining speaker, and I’ve lots of new stories and jokes, so — hold on to your seat — let me sound off.
  • Compassionate curiosity — It’s been quite a while since we’ve really talked, and I’d love to hear what’s happening with you.  What’s happening with you now?  What’s important?  I’d like to know.
  • Interview — I want to hear about you, but let me take control of the conversation.  Are you ready for my first question (of twenty!)?
  • Flirting time — I’d like to offer you much gratuitous praise — not that I really mean it, but can’t we enjoy flattering each other?
  • Far from the personal — Let’s talk about politicians abroad, or movie stars, or scandals . . . anything that keeps us from revealing much about ourselves today.
  • Not so hidden disinterest — I asked you how you are, and about your family, but please don’t say anything too challenging.  Running into you has been a diversion from how I really wanted to spend my time.
  • Saving the world — I know you’re compassionate about world hunger, torture, and other such tragic issues, but are you feeling enough guilt?  Let me offer some concrete things that you can do, and a big dose of guilt for you to absorb if you’re not willing to take these on.
  • Please set the pace — Glad to run into you.  I’ll be relatively quiet, just wanting to hear from you.
  • Our fortune is overwhelming — Let me tell you about my promotion, the fantastic job our daughter just got, the contest we won.  I’ve so much good news to share with you that I really don’t have time to listen to your story today.  Oh, yes, and I was sorry to hear your bad news.
  • False pretense — Let me pretend I didn’t see you.  I won’t say a word, but trust you won’t be offended.
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A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, “Lord, I would like to know what heaven and hell are like.

The Lord led the holy man to two doors.

He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “You have seen Hell.

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, “I don’t understand.”

“It is simple,” said the Lord. “It requires but one skill. You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.”

Sorry, I don’t know the source of this parable.

Sometimes clarity converges!  I was thinking my next blog post, playing with thoughts about abundance, scarcity, and sharing, when I received a Facebook message from my new friend Arne Van Oosterom asking whether making oneself obsolete could be a useful business model. That was the connection I needed to bring together personal sensibility and business productivity.

Many consultants set themselves up as the expert — the priest of a certain domain of knowledge and understanding.  They encourage dependency, and at first reward that with reliable grounded recommendations to their clients.  But the resulting dependency is not healthy.

The healthy alternative is to be as transparent as possible, share not just the result but the process as well, make known the sources and references that you use — in short to act as if the client is about to be on his or her own, with the consultant/guide becoming  obsolete.  Of course the most common result of this approach is that one becomes more valued.

The distribution of material goods may follow a “zero sum game rule”.  More for me  means less for you.   But give away information or understanding, and you have more.  That’s sound thinking (and good morality) in any modality, and it’s particularly relevant in a social networking environment.

[I could now continue this post in several directions, but, instead, will get ready to go visit some friends for a second thanksgiving.  In the spirit of what I’ve written, though, I encourage all of you to continue it via your comments on this site.  There’s an exciting community of thoughtful people reading this blog, but most of you say so little.  Here’s an invitation!]