A request to you, the famous person


Here’s a quote that’s stuck with people for a long time. It was written by Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune in 1997. It was wrongly credited to author Kurt Vonnegut’s speech at a college graduation. It had the following line:

“Don’t play with other people’s hearts without thinking. Don’t let people who are careless with yours bother you.”

Since the title of the article was “Advice, like youth, is wasted on the young,” it probably meant that young people don’t care that they fall in and out of love and leave broken hearts in their wake.

But I thought it was a call to treat people well in general. And to not let people treat them badly.

So, here’s what’s wrong. You just know how people work. You know that people are often afraid, and that fear is often about not having enough money.

This is because so many of us still have brains from reptiles and old mammals. There is a reason for them to be there. So we can stay alive. They are great at what they do. They work together to make sure that every choice we make about our safety keeps us safe.

The real reason for all of this is to make sure that our genes will live on. They really care about meeting people and making babies, which is why young people don’t care much about heartbreak.

But they know how to use fear and greed to figure out what is safe and comfortable. They will do whatever it takes, no matter how much it costs, to make sure you, their owner, and your children are safe and happy until they are old enough to take care of themselves.

You already know. And trade with it just as well.

I thought “Disneyland with the kids” was a thing of the past. But recently, I admired an online marketer who put out a video using the same trick.

When you pose in front of Disneyland with your kids or your two-story mansion and brag about your success, when you tell us your “rags to riches” story, or when you show us your millions on a bank statement with your personal information greyed out, you’re playing with our minds.

It calms the trout down in the same way that the trout tickler does, making it feel like it isn’t real. He’s about to pull us out of the water and put us in his net. Just like when someone clicks on the “Pay Now” button.

When you show us the newest, most cutting-edge technology that we can’t be successful without or invite us to an event where the music, lights, and promises mess with our minds, you are doing just that—tickling the trout.

Your goal isn’t to help. Your goal is to get more money in your bank account. You, too, are giving in to your reptile side.

Even worse, you’re hurting. People believe you. They give you a lot of money, but nothing changes in their lives. They don’t get rich, and they don’t take their kids to Disneyland. They just keep thinking it’s their fault and that they’re not as smart or resourceful as you are to make it work like you do.

I’ve been here before.

At the end of a four-day seminar, the last session was led by a personal coach. He told us that if we didn’t do well with the great tools he’d given us, it wasn’t his fault—it was ours.

That was a good idea. And sneaky. They were teaching us a trade that had worked for them four years earlier. In terms of the internet, that’s as far away as a black hole.

I wasted too much time, effort, and soul-searching before I realized that what had been promised wasn’t possible anymore.

These people took our hearts for granted. Our mistake was that we were driven by the gold and didn’t leave months before.

Recently, I did something completely different: I worked with a group of mentors to help my business in a structured program where the culture was to lean—both ways. Ask for help and you’ll get it. Give help and keep giving it until success is guaranteed.

The point is to help. This is about making a real difference in people’s lives. This has to do with people. Not about being greedy or scared. Not about going to Disneyland, but about making a difference in the community and really caring.

Those who do this kind of work—delivering, caring, and serving—will be richly rewarded.

We don’t have to be on the A-list. People who have a lot of power, yes, but gurus? No.