[Writing Prompt] When you die, you appear in a cinema with a number of other people who look like you. You find out that they are your previous reincarnations, and soon you all begin watching your next life on the big screen.
Bobby took one look around him and a thousand versions of him stared back at him smiling. Er, well, at least he thought they looked a lot like him. Some had long hair. Some had glasses. Some wore suits from the “Mad Men” era it seemed. Some wore farmers clothing, others wore doctor’s coats. They were all the things that Bobby had ever dreamed of, and they were standing right there. A sign above him said, “Hall B” and someone shouted, “Welcome to the Hall of Bobby”! And a loud applause broke out.
Standing next to him was a man wearing a beret. He had a feeling that the natural tendencies that he had for art somehow were connected to him. He, himself, he had been a writer. Writing like his life depended on it. Writing all the way up until the night of the… he paused… the accident.
It was all starting to come back. He had been at the newspaper office very late writing a piece for the front page. It was about 3am when he got into his car and a big giant post came out of nowhere. And then blam, he ended up here.
The man in the beret said, “We really enjoyed the pieces you wrote. You really should have chosen Carol though over your work. I think you would have lived a happier life!”
“Yes! You definitely would have,” said a man 4 chairs down. He seemed to be dressed like a drummer in a band.
An usher came by. He had wings on his back and he was dressed in white, and said, “Here’s your seat here sir,” pointing to the open seat next to the beret wearing man.
“The movie will be starting soon, please take your seat…”
“But… what is this place?” Bobby asked.
Tired Tom was always a sleepy head. He was just one of those birds that could never (for the life of him) wake up early, pull himself out of his warm cozy nest, and get the good first catches of worms.
His friend Mary Mournins always had a cheer about her. She wasn’t necessarily the earliest bird that got up, but even if she did wake up late, she was always filled with joy and had a smile on her face.
On one particularly late morning, Tom was grumpier than ever. He flew out to the nearby field and searched and searched, but there were NO worms to be found and thus he had to go the entire morning without eating any breakfast.
He spotted Mary chatting with some other birds and tidying her nest and decided to go over and see what she was talking about, and maybe what her secret was to always staying so chipper.
“…yes, and if I hadn’t changed my morning routine… and the questions I asked myself when I got up… I would have continued being my same old tired self…” Tom overheard her say.
“Oh really?!” said one of her friends, “Can you tell us what the questions are that you first ask yourself?”
A few nights ago, I attended a talk given by Christopher Voss, former international FBI hostage negotiator for 24 years, in which he described several of his kidnapping stories and how his entire mission in life was to help people and save lives.
Needless to say, he was the real deal. This guy is what all the characters in the movies are based on.
He talked about some of the principles of being a good negotiator in any field, whether in business or in your own personal life.
To top that all off, he wrote a book about it called Never Split the Difference which can be summed up by the following:
Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car, negotiating a salary, buying a home, renegotiating rent, deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.
In fact he was saying that the Director of Product Growth at Slack, Merci Grace, gave it to ALL her girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends because it helped not only in her professional life, but in her relationship with her fiancé and family.
Right off the bat, he had an air about him that just showed his gravitas and how he could keep his cool during intense high-stakes situations.
How to be a World-Class Negotiator
It was a about year ago that I got a deal for YouTube Red that gave me 6 months of subscription for $1, so I decided to try it out. I had never been a big watcher of YouTube before because I believed it was like watching TV which I always considered a waste of time. BUT, I had recently (at the time) been told that Sheryl Sandberg’s graduation speech was really good and that I should go watch it. It was May/June and all the graduations were taking place and so the first thing I did was look up “best graduation speeches” and my life was changed forever.
Having written a graduation speeches for both my elementary school and college ceremonies (which I will share at the end), I had an idea of what made a good speech and what contributes to a horrible speech.
There’s something just amazing about graduation speeches because they literally are the world’s best knowledge summed up in like 10–15 minutes. The life experience and wisdom of a single person combined with hours of their own research putting it together is something of a sight to hear.
TED talks today are really almost a streamlined fancy version of a graduation speech, given by a leading expert in their field. However, there’s just something magical about a graduation speech because you have a captive (possibly drunk, non-attentive) group of accomplished students who are about to embark on the next chapter of their lives.
Graduation (otherwise known as Commencement) speeches are more about imparting life lessons and life journeys of a person rather than informing or demonstrating their latest research. They’re meant to be aspirational while TED talks are more inspirational.
They are about someone who has already walked the path providing insight, and possible steps to get there, but most of all, proof that it’s possible (and that everything will be OK!)
While the reports are still coming in from this past month’s round of commencements for 2017, there is still a very large database of existing ones to look back on! Though, if you’ve seen Will Ferrell’s USC speech, you won’t be disappointed. Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard speech is pretty good too along with Tim Cook’s for MIT. The irony being that Harvard gave Zuckerberg an honorary degree years after he dropped out…