I’m reading Bob Goff’s Everybody Always where he’s urging everyone to become love. If you haven’t read it yet, buy your copy today. It will wreck you, encourage you and inspire you on every page. Something he emphasizes that keeps ringing in my head is how we are compelled to voice our opinions. Goff believes we state our opinions as a way to protect ourselves. Rather than protecting ourselves, wisdom would have us get in touch with our heart — the fear, the insecurity, the need to impress. The tendency we all have to surround ourselves with people who agree with us indicates our insecurities. Bob Goff puts it like this, “When people are flat wrong, why do I appoint myself the sheriff to straighten them out? Burning down others’ opinions doesn’t make us right. It makes us arsonists.” Read that quote again!
In this quest to become love, Goff repeatedly talks about telling people who they are — who they are becoming — rather than what they should want. "You should take that job." "You should ask for that promotion." "You should get married." "You shouldn’t do that." These are words that roll off our tongue, oh so easily. No one relishes being told what to do. Shifting our mindset from telling people what to do to telling them who they are becoming is a game changer. "You are brave." "You are gifted." "You are creative." "You are enough."
In Chapter 5, Goff illustrates this beautifully with a story from his own life. He’s been picked up by a limo driver.
After we’d driven a short time, I said, “You know, this is the first time I’ve ever been to Orlando, but if someone asked me what I thought about everyone in the city, You know what I’d tell them? I’d say I think everyone in Orlando is just terrific. Do you know why? It’s simple— because you’re a nice guy!”
He’s not telling him what to do. He’s telling him who he is — an ambassador for his city who spreads kindness.
Later he learns the driver has driven 25 years and is soon retiring. He convinces the driver to get in the back seat and let Bob drive.
I carry medals with me all the time. They don’t say anything on them. . . I opened the door and let my limo-driver friend out from the back seat. He stood up and straightened his jacket, and I was still wearing his hat. I pinned a medal on his chest and said, ‘You’re brave. You’re courageous. You’re foolhardy! Did you see how I took that last turn?’ I spoke words of truth and affirmation to him with a smile. I patted him on the chest, gave him a hug, and walked into the hotel.
His new friend returned to his home that night, not with a list of things he needed to do or undo but with an understanding of who he was.