A Genie and Three Wishes

A Genie and Three Wishes

Blue Genie

A Genie and Three Wishes

MANY YEARS AGO I was in a suq in the Middle East when I came across this very interesting bottle. It was very dusty and I couldn’t really tell what colour it was so I started to rub it to get the dust off. There was a flash of light, a puff of smoke, and there standing on the bottle was a small, attractive lady Genie.

I was astonished and quite speechless. Hands on hips the little Genie stared at me with piercing black eyes, “What’s the matter sailor, cat got your tongue; come on you know what to do now with me!” I glanced around furtively to see if anyone was taking any notice of me staring at a diminutive figure on the top of the bottle I was holding in my shaking hands. No one was paying the least amount of attention to me. Being a sailor, I knew exactly what to do with the little lady and the bottle. I stuffed her in my pocket, paid for the bottle and rushed off to find a quiet spot to claim my prize! 

I picked a little coffee house where there was only one elderly man dozing at a table out front and a waiter sitting on a stool reading a newspaper. I settled into a secluded table, placed the bottle on the table and ordered a cup of chai. After my chai had been delivered and the waiter retreated to his stool and newspaper, I fished the little lady out of my pocket and placed her on the table. Kicking, squirming, and picking pocket lint from her eyebrows she hollered at me, “You son of a diseased sea dog, is that any way to treat a lady that you expect favours from? May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your ears for eternity!”

She then sniffed the air and exclaimed, “That chai smells wonderful, I haven’t had any for at least two hundred years. I must have some; upon which she climbed up on the cup and cupped her hands into my chai to drink. She promptly fell off the cup screaming more curses about camels and fleas infesting bodily areas, how hot the chai was, and that I should have warned her.

I was more than a little nervous as I looked around to see if anyone had taken notice of the commotion. The man out front was still dozing comfortably, the waiter still engrossed in his newspaper. Amazing I thought, as the noise this little Genie had just made was, in my estimation, the equivalent of a heavy metal band.

Blowing on her hands the Genie fixed me again with that piercing stare. “WELL,” she said, in that manner which all men know coming from a woman means you are in serious doodoo. Without a pause she continued, “You want your three wishes don’t you!” I started to answer that I did, but with one hand on her tiny hip and a defiant finger pointed at me she uttered a crushing, “SILENCE.” Nervously I glance around. “Don’t worry you big ape, no one can hear or see me but you,” she hissed. That was small consolation I thought. Now I would merely look like a nut case talking to a bottle and some chai.

“Now, then the Genie said, “I need to explain the rules to you.” Rules I sputtered. What do you mean rules, I rubbed the bottle, I found you, and I get my three wishes. The Genie was amazingly silent. She stood there looking at her fingernails. “That hot chai ruined my nail job,” she mused. Then she looked at me demurely, batted her long eyelashes, and in sexy, soft, silky voice that would have tamed a wild lion purred, “I believe I have something you want, correct?” I had to agree she certainly did. “Well then Bubba,” she said more matter of factly, “put some of that chai in your spoon so I can drink it and we will discuss how this is going to go down.

I did as she wanted. With me sipping out of the cup and the Genie sipping out of the spoon she explained how things would work.  The Genie told me that she had been in the business of granting wishes for a very long time. And over that time the vast majority of those that found her and were granted wishes were men. It was always the same thing, she explained; they wanted more sex, more money, more fame, eternal life; they never thought of anyone but themselves.

She had tired, she said, of granting those kinds of wishes so she had petitioned the Grand Pooba of Genies for a change to her wish granting charter. It was simple: all the wishes she granted would have to be for someone else and at least one would have to be for a woman. The Grand Pooba thought this was quite an idea and duly amended her wish granting charter. That was the deal my diminutive Genie said with a great big grin on her face. Take it or leave it.

I could see the merit in having the wishes granted to somebody else. But as I didn’t have anyone at the time that was in desperate need of having a wish fulfilled, I asked if there was any possibility of having them deferred until I did? My little Genie was silent.

I began to worry. Then, she exclaimed, “I will leave the bottle with you. I will charge it with three blank wishes for your use. When you want to use them, just rub the bottle until it turns clear then think of your wish. Be warned. If you use any of the wishes for yourself, you will be turned into a wart on the back of a frog that has been stepped on by a flea-infested camel. The same if at least one of the wishes isn’t used for a woman. Do you agree to that?” I readily agreed. With that she touched the bottle turning it a brilliant green colour and then in a flash and a puff of smoke vanished.

I never saw her again and used the wishes as she required.

We all have three wishes that we can use. What are you using yours for?


Communicating In an Imperfect World

Communicating In an Imperfect World

Blue Genie

Communicating in an Imperfect World

Have you ever been speaking with someone and thought to yourself:

Wow, they just don’t get what I am saying. They must be from another planet!


Man, I can’t make myself any clearer. How can they not understand me. They must be an idiot.

In a perfect world our communications would go something like this:

  • I have a chunk of meaning I want to pass on to someone else.
  • I use language – words, tone of voice, and body language to send that meaning.
  • The other person receives my “message.”
  • The other person then has in their mind the same chunk of meaning that I wanted to pass along

However, this is rarely true. Why?

The reason is that everyone has their own unique “model of the world” which directly shapes how they send and receive meaning when they communicate.


Our Model of the World

We pay attention to various aspects of reality based on how we individually use our brains. We create our internal representations of the events in our lives by filtering the information that comes from our senses. This filtering distorts, deletes, and generalizes the information we receive so that it is manageable for the conscious mind. We create our own perceptions of reality based on this.

So, in fact, we actually only inhabit our perceptions and interpretations of reality. And everyone’s perception and interpretation of the world, of their reality, their model of the world is different. It may only be slightly different than our own, or it may be vastly different – but it is different.

If people you are communicating with just don’t get what you are trying to say, they are not from a different planet, nor are they idiots. Their model of the world is just different, and we need to understand and respect this.

You are, then, communicating across different “models of the world,” “alternate realities” so to speak. It is these differences that can, and often lead to misunderstandings, arguments, and breakdowns in communications.

We are always communicating in an imperfect world across alternate realities. Both the Sender and the Receiver need to take this into account.

So, what can be done?


What the Sender Can Do

Our natural assumption is that our intended meaning will be perfectly understood by the other person. When it isn’t, our natural inclination is to blame the other person for the breakdown. We often assume that the other person didn’t “hear” what we said so we repeat it exactly the same hoping or expecting different results. Often, we will increase the volume of the message assuming that a “louder” message will get through. All of this is likely to be very counterproductive and only increase the frustration, tension, and communication breakdown.

Unless you have positive evidence to the contrary, you should always assume that whomever you are interacting with is normal. By this is meant that they are not impaired in any serious way from hearing, seeing, or understanding what you say or do, and that they are not acting in any way to deliberately sabotage the interaction. In other words, don’t judge them as an idiot just because they didn’t immediately get your meaning.

A Sender needs to apply the following rule:

The meaning of a communication you send is the response you get.

You need to accept that your receiver’s response is what they honestly believe the meaning to be, no matter how different it is from what you intended. Blaming the listener for not “getting” your message is counterproductive. So, when you find yourself in a situation where your receiver clearly does not get your message you need to find another way to send your message so they can “get” it.

The onus is on you to put your message/meaning in a frame that fits with the listener’s model of the world – that enters into their alternate reality and makes sense to them.


What the Receiver Can Do

The responsibility for establishing the meaning of any communications starts with the sender. They are the only one who knows what is really intended. It is through the sender’s deliberate reshaping of the message that the receiver can come to understand it.

However, this does not mean the receiver is merely a passive receiver and has no responsibility to try and arrive at the intended meaning of the communications. The more the receiver participates meaningfully in arriving at the meaning of the communication the more productive and enjoyable the experience will be.

A great deal of the time when people hear someone say or see them do something they don’t understand they assume that it is false, and they try to imagine what could be wrong with the person to cause them to say or do something so ridiculous. This is the same reaction as a sender assuming that the receiver is an idiot because they didn’t “get” the message. A receiver’s reaction like this is virtually guaranteed to create a serious break down in communications.

A Receiver needs to apply Miller’s Law.

Miller’s Law instructs us to suspend judgment about what someone is saying so that we can first understand them without imbuing their message with our own personal interpretations. The law states:


To understand what a person is saying or doing that does not make sense to you, assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.

How to apply Miller’s Law

  1. Assume what you heard, or saw is true. Just assume it. You do not have to like it or accept it. You just need to come to understand it.
  2. Ask yourself: What could this be true of? Test this out with the other person by asking relevant questions.
  3. Ask Yourself: In a world where this is true what else would be true. Test this out with the other person by asking relevant questions.
  4. Continue this line of investigation until you have enough information to craft your message within the other person’s model of the world.


In any communication, you are both a Sender and a Receiver. The person you are speaking to is neither from another planet, nor an idiot. They do, however, have a different model of the world than yours. These alternate realities may be quite similar or vastly different. Both the Sender and Receiver need to understand and respect each other’s model of the world. Entering into the other person’s model of the world takes conscious effort. It is not necessarily easy. However, doing so will achieve much more meaningful and effective communications.


Note: Miller’s Law was formulated by George Miller (1920-2012), Princeton Professor and psychologist. He was one of the founders of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He also made significant contributions to psycho-linguistics and the study of human communication.


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Time is Money – Or is It?

Time is Money – Or is It?

Life Coach Toronto

Time is Money - Or is it?

Time is perhaps our most precious resource. Once we “spend” time we can never get it back! Much consideration is given to not wasting time.

In business this is most often reflected in the adage:

Time Money

Time is money

 The assumptions embedded in the idea that time = money are so profound that they impact how we think about sales. The most significant impact is when sales are viewed as transactions – discrete or one time events.

SAles Exchange

With this way of thinking, a “good” salesperson is someone who is good at discovering these discrete events and making the transactions occur.  And it suggests these sales will be managed through a sales process that will track them through a series of defined stages, attach probabilities to closing the sale, attach an expected dollar value to the sale, and monitor or indicate due dates and actions steps to be taken.  A selling/buying cycle is created where the client/customer and the product/service are both seen as quantifiable units to be measured in the process.

Sales Funnel

Within the cycle, if an action can’t be assigned with a date put on it then that action doesn’t exist – it is a waste of time. When the cycle is completed, the sale is accepted or rejected. The client or customer may come back; however, they become a new event within a new cycle. And this describes most modern-day CRM systems, sales metrics, and sales management processes – they are built around discrete, separate, trackable events. More events are better. 

When sales as events are the measure of efficiency, time is not on our side. Time is “being wasted” if we are not adding clients/customers to the top of the funnel, creating new events or more sales. In this case time is our enemy as we want to spend a little time as possible on each event so as to maximize the total number of events or sales we can create. Taking too long on one event is a waste of time. Relationships are seen only as a means to and end to get to the desired outcome – the sale.

What if there was another way to think about sales.  What if sales weren’t looked at as a discrete or single event. What if they were looked at as a pattern of events? What if a sale was about a relationship, or a condition, or connections instead of a transaction? If this were the case we wouldn’t talk about selling individual events or transactions but building relationships and connections. Individual transactions would then to be seen as the measure of success of the relationship. Instead of being seen as the ends of a relationship, transactions or sales would become the means. When sales relationships are the measure of efficiency, time is on our side. Time invested in relationships and building connections will maximize sales revenue in the long term. 

For a lot of businesses, the transactional model of sales as one-time events works just fine. For any business where, generally, the customer comes to them, a short term, quantitative, transactional sales strategy is exactly what is needed.

However, for any business that needs to find customers or clients on an ongoing basis – businesses that provide professional and intangible services or high-ticket B2B sales – the reverse is true. Focusing on maximizing the number of sales events or transactions that can be created in the minimum amount of time is likely to lead to disastrous results. Instead, focusing on the longer term, qualitative sales strategy by building and improving meaningful relationships and connections will lead to repeat business, loyalty, and referrals.  This will generate the long-term revenue that these types of businesses desire and need.

It just takes some time


Sales – It’s all about Rapport

Sales – It’s all about Rapport

Blue Genie

It's All About Rapport

No matter what you are doing in your life – whether it is on a professional or  personal level, whether  you are a business owner, a parent , a doctor, politician, teacher  or any combination of these “titles” you are selling something.

The art of sales is all about getting someone to buy your product or engage your services.  First of all, we need to understand that facts don’t sell anything – at least not initially. Emotions sell!  Elmer Wheeler, once considered the greatest salesman in the world, proclaimed “Sell the Sizzle not the Steak.” This idea is as relevant now as it was when he wrote his book Tested Sentences that Sell, in 1937.

It is the emotional idea of what the steak represents that will create the sale – not the real steak. Now this doesn’t mean facts aren’t important in sales.  After all, at some point in time, a real steak will have to be produced and the facts of the steak: its size, its cut, how lean it is, how it will be cooked, etc. will be important to the customer. However, initially it is the idea of the steak that is important.

Selling an idea is quite different than selling the “facts.” People can accept facts and not like or accept the person presenting them. Facts can be verified independently of the person presenting them. Ideas, however, are quite different. Ideas require that you trust and believe the other person before you agree with them. So, what does it take to have the other understand and agree with you?  

Quite simply, people like people who are like themselves. Therefore, it is all about entering into and maintaining rapport with the other person. Rapport is the process of matching and mirroring someone so we become like them so that they will accept, uncritically, the suggestions we give them. It is the establishment of trust to achieve a mutual beneficial result

Now, all of us have had interactions with another person where we walked away feeling like we had known the person for all our lives – that we really got along well with them and really liked them.  Conversely, we have probably all had situations where we have walked away saying to ourselves – “wow that wasn’t enjoyable!” We had that bad taste in our mouth.  Both outcomes are indications of the level of our rapport with the other person. In the first instance, our rapport was deep; in the second instance we probably had little or no rapport. 

If we treat rapport as something that “happens” to us, then we stumble into interactions where we might have great rapport or we might not have rapport at all, or anything in between. However, if we treat rapport as a process, as suggested in the definition above, then we can learn and apply principles that will permit us to create and maintain deep and beneficial rapport with anyone at any time. Rapport doesn’t have to be something that just happens- it can be something we deliberately create.

When we are in rapport with another person, that person sees us as being very much like them. They understand and agree with us. Therefore, they will like us, understand us, and agree with us much more readily.  

Think about what the ability to create rapport at will would mean to your sales conversations. However, because rapport creates a trust and uncritical acceptance with the other person, how that sales conversation is conducted becomes of utmost ethical importance.

More later on how to use the power of rapport to move your sales conversation forward.


Are You the Carrot, the Egg or The Coffee?

Are You the Carrot, the Egg or The Coffee?

Blue Genie

Are you the Carrot, the Egg, or the Coffee?

Sales Coach TorontoA young man went to his grandfather for advice. The grandfather puffed on his pipe and listened as the young man described how hard and difficult his life was.  Nothing seemed to be going well for him. As hard as he tried, as soon as he solved one of his life’s problem another one would immediately rise up.  The young man told his grandfather he was tired of struggling and was at his wits ends.  “Grandfather,” he cried, ” I don’t know what I can do.”  The grandfather merely arose from where he sat and beckoned the young man to follow him.  The young man’s spirits lifted immediately. His grandfather was a wise old man. Surely he was going to help him.

Life Coach TorontoThe Grandfather led the young man into the kitchen where he instructed him to get three pots, fill them with water and place them on the stove to boil. The young man was puzzled but he did as his Grandfather asked.  The Grandfather then instructed the young man to get a carrot and place it in one pot, an egg in another, and coffee beans in the last pot.  The young man was even more perplexed. His grandfather was an excellent cook and this was nothing of the sort of meal he would normally prepare. When the young man had done as his grandfather had instructed, his grandfather turned to him, pointing at a kitchen chair saying, Now, please sit and watch.” Now even more perplexed than ever and beginning to become a bit angry at his grandfather the young man sat as directed crying out, ” But Grandfather, what am I watching for and I thought you were going to help me with my problems.”  The grandfather merely put a fingers to  his lips. “Shssss, just watch,” was all he said.

The young man sat on the chair in silence and began to boil like the water in the pots, while his grandfather sat on another chair, closed his eyes and puffed on his pipe. After about twenty minutes the grandfather opened his eyes, put out his pipe and asked the young man to get out two bowls and a mug, to place the carrot in one bowl, the egg in another and to pour the coffee into the mug. When the young man had done this he turned to speak to his grandfather, but the grandfather spoke first, “Now, what do you see?” he enquired.

“Why I see a cooked carrot,  a hard-boiled egg, and a mug of black coffee, of course ” replied the young man, and then somewhat indignantly, ” This is not helping me with my problems at all grandfather!”

Grandfather nodded wisely. “Feel the carrots, then peel the egg and feel it, and taste the coffee, he said softly, “And then tell me what you notice.” The young man did as his grandfather wished.,” The carrots are soft, the egg is hard and the coffee tastes wonderful but,” he started to say  ” I really don’t see how. . .”  His Grandfather cut him off. “Exactly,” he exclaimed raising his right hand with his index finger pointing skyward. “Each of these three things faced the same adversity – the boiling water. The carrot went in strong and hard and unrelenting but after being in the water softened and became weaker. The egg had been fragile, easily broken, with its thin shell protecting its liquid interior.  After being in the water the shell was the same but no longer needed, the egg was hard.  The coffee beans were different. After being in the water – they had changed the water!”

Now my young grandson,” asked the grandfather. Are you the Carrot, the Egg or the Coffee Beans. Are you the Carrot that seems strong but with pain and adversity wilts, becoming soft and losing your strength?  Or, are you the Egg that starts with a hard skin, soft and malleable heart but after pain and adversity has a shell that still looks the same but a hardened heart on the inside.  Or, are you the Coffee Beans that actually change the water, the very circumstance that brings them such hardship. If you are like the beans when things are at their worst, when the hours are darkest, and your trials are greatest you get better and change the situation around you. If you are like the beans when the water of your life gets hot it will release the fragrance and flavour of your life. 

“Grandson,” he asked, How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by it and your surroundings, or do you bring life and flavour to them?

“Are you the Carrot, the Egg, or the Coffee Beans?”


The Mind-Body Connection – Communicating with Your Unconscious Mind

The Mind-Body Connection – Communicating with Your Unconscious Mind

Blue Genie

The Mind-Body Connection

The French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) developed a concept of mind and body that came to be known as Dualism. The mind was thought to be non-material, not subject to the laws of nature, while the body was thought to be like a machine. Dualism holds that there is a rigid distinction between the mind and the body or matter. The mind can interact with the body much like a driver interacts with a car. But just like the thoughts of the driver cannot influence or affect the actions of the car, the thoughts in the mind cannot affect or influence the body.

The mind-body problem is a philosophical question which continues to occupy philosophers today. In addition to being a philosophical question, it also became the accepted scientific description of the relationship between the mind and the body. For a considerable period of time a scientific explanation of a mind-body connection could not be provided. As a result, anything that depended on a theory of mind-body connection was discounted despite any demonstrable results. Acupuncture is illustrative of this thinking.

Despite the fact that the Chinese had been using acupuncture for a very long time with good results, when it was introduced into the West, it could not be explained by existing scientific understanding or methods. As a result, it was discounted and shunned by the scientific and medical communities as being “mystical,” – not a legitimate form of medical healing.

Subsequently, scientific advances have been able to show how acupuncture works and as a result it is now an accepted part of modern medical practice. A traditional Chinese acupuncturist may describe how acupuncture works very differently than how a modern Western physician might describe it. However, how acupuncture works has not changed at all. All that has changed is our understanding of how to think about it.

To be sure the mechanistic scientific model has much merit as it drove huge advances in knowledge and improvement in the human condition. However, as the case of acupuncture shows, just because something cannot be fully explained with the bounds of current scientific knowledge and techniques does not mean that it will never be explained.

Advances in technology are providing neuroscientists with a much better ability to investigate how the brain functions. They are now beginning to be able to demonstrate and explain scientifically many aspects of the mind-body connection. Like the case of acupuncture, it is clear that many things about the mind-body connection that were dismissed as unscientific can be now explained. It is also clear that there are many more things to discover.

The ability to tap into the mind-body connection is a powerful tool in a range of options available for the betterment of our health and well-being. Mind-body techniques should not be the only options considered, nor should they be excluded out of hand. It is unethical and unhelpful for those who espouse the use of mind-body techniques to claim fantastical abilities for them. Similarly, is it unhelpful for them to be dismissed out of hand by medical practitioners who are not yet convinced of the intimate connection between the mind and the body and what that means for the healing arts.


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