The ME in Mentor

mentoring-pic-1Since I believe every knife should be a sharp knife, I keep a good edge on the one I carry in my pocket.  Whenever I sharpen it, I think of an analogy from the Proverbs: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Psalm 22:17).

You can validate the truth of this analogy by walking down the aisle of your local grocery store.  The shelves are stocked with many products that bear the Procter and Gamble name.

William Procter was a candle maker and James Gamble made soap.  The two of them became in-laws when they married the Norris sisters.  Through the encouragement of their father-in-law, they formed a partnership, and Procter and Gamble has been selling household products since 1837.

My HP computer is another good example.  Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were classmates in Stanford’s engineering program.  When they graduated, Fred Terman, a professor at Standford, encouraged them to pursue their dreams, and they founded Hewlett and Packard in 1939.

Neither of these famous partnerships may have been formed had it not been for the guidance and encouragement of an acquaintance or mentor who helped to hone and fine tune their skills. With this in mind, let me share the razor-sharp wisdom of two men:

  • John Maxwell: One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.
  • Isaac Newton: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

I encourage you to invest in the lives of others.  Allow them to stand on your shoulders; pick your brain; lend a listening ear; nudge them in the right direction; and, help them to clarify their vision and pursue their dream.

Everybody needs somebody to help them along life’s journey.  If there had been no Ben, would Jerry have ever made ice cream?  The world of comedy would be different if  Abbott  had never met Costello. How would Calvin have survived childhood without Hobbes?

Where would you be if someone had not been the ME in Mentor for you? Make this year the year you make a difference in the life of another.

As we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. ~Galatians 6:10

Abbott & Costello Who’s on first skit.

Linguistics and Liars

spkwaveA Southern Gospel Revival is a band that I like.  Ben Hester sings and plays guitar for this group, and he gives a fine performance of the song In the Sweet By and By.

As I was listening to this song this morning, it reminded me of an incident at the Kansas State Fair.  I was watching a demonstration and closely listening to the fine-honed monologue of the salesman.  As he finished his demonstration, he displayed a toothy grin and waved to us saying:  “This is the end of our demonstration, so I want to say “bye-bye,” and I want to thank you for coming.  Bye now!”

His use of the word “bye” was a clever display of linguistics and the subtle use of a homophone.  On one level the crowd was thinking:  “Gee what a nice man to say good-bye like that.”  On another level, however, his message was, “I want to say buy-buy . . . buy my product now!”

I had a similar experience at the Home Show.  There was a booth touting the warm feeling of fleece and the benefits of wool, and they even had a little pen with a ewe and her lambs.  I smiled when I heard the salesman say:  “Every ewe here knows how important it is to keep her babies warm.”  The message he was sending was not focused on the “ewes” but the “yous” in the crowd—“You mothers want to keep your babies warm, so buy this fleece blanket.”

When Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, he warned them of linguistics and liars and of people who would use “smooth words and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:18).”  This verse has also been rendered as “enticing words” and “pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.”

I don’t have anything to sell, and I’m sending only one message:  Bye for now, and take a minute or two to listen to In The Sweet By and By.

The Pepsodent Tingle

Claude Hopkins is a name that was unfamiliar to me, until I read a little bit about the evolution of toothpaste.  Hopkins was a marketing professional and a friend of his contacted him about a new product called Pepsodent.

Hopkins had two rules that he closely followed when developing an advertising campaign:

  • First, find a simple and obvious cue.
  • Second, clearly define the rewards.

The rules paid off:  Three weeks after the Pepsodent campaign started, the demand for the toothpaste soared. In fact, the company received so many orders they ran out of toothpaste.

A closer look at Hopkins’ rules reveals the following:

  • He identified a cue which was the feeling of a film over the teeth.
  • He called attention to a routine (brushing your teeth with toothpaste).
  • He marketed the reward which was the feeling of a clean mouth.

The makers of toothpaste cleverly add an ingredient that leaves a tingling feeling in the mouth. Even though this ingredient doesn’t actually help to clean the teeth, people identify cleanliness with the tingle.   The end result is, people crave the tingling.

The story of Pepsodent is a lesson on habit control.  To stop unwanted behavior, a person needs to be familiar with the rules of Hopkins:

  • Cue
  • Routine
  • Reward

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, outlines this sequence:  The cue is the trigger that sets the sequence in motion…. The routine is the behavior itself, which can be positive (like a daily running habit) or harmful (like gambling away the family savings). And the third part is the reward — the goal of the behavioral loop, which your brain’s pleasure centers gauge to determine if a sequence of behavior, is worth repeating and storing in a lockbox of habit….

The first thing to do when trying to break a habit is to identify the cue.  Generally speaking, CUES are categorized as:  [1] Time of day [2] A certain place [3] A specific emotion [4] A certain person or group of people [5] A ritual that is already in place

To see this illustrated in the life of an individual, at least 4 of these 5 CUES, were present in the incident that involved David with Bathsheba.  Can you identify them?

If we find that we are craving a tingle, we may need to ask:  What CUES are present  in my life that are contributing to unhealthy habits?