Catalysts are people who change your life and / or career.
Some catalysts are occasional connections in your life.
Some catalysts are newcomers to your life.
Having Fun With Occasional Connections
“So Play changed everything. It’s not only the physical act of getting out and running around and having fun it was just a way that I viewed the world. It was a way that I viewed my work and it changed my life and what I didn’t realize is when I was super anxious and just nervous like weird creepy energy to me that other people would detect and they would reflect it back to me. Have you ever seen like a person walking their dog and this guy will walk by them and the dog will be just like freak out, it’s because the person walking by had some sketchy weird energy that the dog detected. Humans do that but I think they do that on a subconscious, much more subtle level. What I realize is when I started playing, when I started viewing the world as a place where I could have fun again and every moment has an opportunity to have fun, I started playing with everybody, I started joking around with waitresses and cashiers, and my friends, we started pulling pranks on each other and just joking around and relaxing, and it changed my world because everyone around me started playing back with me and all of a sudden surrounded by people who were having fun again, it changed everything.”
Art of Manliness Podcast with Host Brett McKay
Episode #62: Play It Away With Charles Duhigg
April 4, 2014, Last updated: September 27, 2021
“Scott Kaufman: Yeah, I don’t know if they saw potential, but they saw my frustration. There was one, there was a teacher in 9th grade. I was kept in special education all the way up to ninth grade, and I had a keen mind you know, I had a lot of catching up to do once I eventually left special education. But I was sitting there in the ninth grade, and a teacher who had not been there prior to that day, I guess she was covering for the regular teacher, she saw that I was like so fully frustrated, I was like looking out of the classroom across the hall of the biology class they wouldn’t let me take, and I was supposed to be taking an untimed history test, and I clearly wasn’t paying too much attention to it. You know she’s like what’s going on, I was like well I have the rest of my life to take this test if it’s untimed, so what does it matter? And she really, she took me aside and she after class outside the class she said well look why are you still here? Have you thought about, you know taking a, trying it out, gifted, without or not gifted, without special education. And I was like wow, like no one’s ever like questioned. No, I mean it’s something I intuitively wanted, but you know, we spend a lot of time in our youth accepting authority right, accepting you kind of like the judgment of others, and this was really a pivotal moment in my life, she really caused me to question whether or not I was capable of more, that I truly felt as though I was capable of more but kind of again empowered me to take a stand. And I didn’t report to special education, I didn’t report back and they let me out on a “trial basis,” But I went from like a C/D student to straight A student, and you know it’s amazing the power of having something to prove. That can be a great motivating force in itself and I was just like so determined to prove that I was, could do something that someone would describe as intelligent. I tried all sorts of identities, I did all sorts of stuff. My grandfather was a famous cellist and he was retired and I was like will you teach me how to play Cello, gramps, and he taught me and I joined the school orchestra. I did the choir, I did plays, I became a Latin scholar. I tried lots of identities. I’m not going to say I was good at all these identities I tried but an exciting thing is I was just given that freedom to try different identities which I didn’t have that freedom prior to that moment.
Brett McKay: Interesting. Now it’s funny as I was reading that like I related to that quite a, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people who read this and like I relate to that. You know why I wasn’t like placed in special Ed. I was just sort of like on the average track right, because of the standardized test you take, you know the Iowa Test of Basic Skills or whatever, and I remember being really frustrated because I had friends who got to go to like in Richmond Iowa right, and the got to like, that got to do cool stuff like learn about Greek architecture and I was like stuck like, like color you know, color by number stuff and I remember like just being so frustrated that I would go home and research this stuff on my own because I wanted to like, I wanted that experience, but because you know this test as I wasn’t ready for it, I was denied that. And it wasn’t until middle school that I had an English teacher who said, you know, I think you should be like on the honors track. And it’s like if it’s weren’t for her like I would, because of that lady I was seen as the honor student now, every class I got I was honors and thinks just really went up for me after that. But it was just like now this is the reason I was completely frustrated that I couldn’t do this stuff because a test that I couldn’t.”
Art of Manliness Podcast With Host Brett McKay
Ungifted with Scott Barry Kaufman
February 8, 2014, Last updated September 27, 2021
How 2 boys attracted life catalysts in school
Show what interests you.
Show who you want to be.
“Though I left education to enter media advertising sales after four years of teaching, I still had NO IDEA how to become a business leader. But I was young and attractive and said yes to a random date with a fellow from New York City, a friend of a friend. He encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree in Business. Voila! I was on my path!”
Be a nice person.
“Granovetter surveyed 282 Boston-based workers and found that most of them got their jobs through someone they knew. But only a minority got the job through a close friend; 84% got their job through those weak-tie relationships – meaning casual contacts whom they saw only occasionally. As Granovetter pointed out, the people whom you spend a lot of time with swim in the same pool of information as you do. We depend on friendly outsiders to bring us news of opportunities from beyond our immediate circles – and so the more of those acquaintances we have, the better.”
“Why your ‘weak-tie’ friendships may mean more than you think”
July 2, 2020
Be friendly to everyone you see occasionally.
© Paula M. Kramer, 2023
All rights reserved.
Updated January 16, 2024.