Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The book caught my attention as I walked through the stacks and on impulse I began reading it while standing in the aisle.

In a Jewish neighborhood, beside a mail box, researchers dropped letters in unsealed envelopes that contained a check. The envelopes were addressed to an obviously anti-Jewish organization. The essence of the letters was something like "I support your organization. We must do something to stop the Jews. Enclosed find my (second, sixth, eighteenth, twentieth) of twenty payments to join your organization." Researchers watched as people discovered the envelopes, removed and read the letter, and mailed, kept or discarded it. After observing, researchers approached the people who found the letter and interviewed them.

The Results: If the payment was an early payment (first, second, third, etc), the finders were likely to discard the letter. If the payment was near the end (eighteen, nineteen or twenty), the finders were likely to return the check and letter to the envelope and drop it in the mail. This was true even if the finder was Jewish!

The Conclusion: People like success! We want to see people succeed. We cheer them on and want to help. The closer a person is to success the more we cheer and help -- even if we don't agree with their goals.

I worked in university fundraising for a few years. One of the principles of fundraising is that people give to winners, to success. Never beg for money. Don't talk about need. Rather, talk about success and goals and the good that will be done with contributions. A person's money is an extension of the person. Donors want to feel like they have done something worthy.

I try to live with thoughts of winning and succeeding in mind. I focus on people who are working to make a difference rather than those who are ranting and raving but never offering solutions. I try to look beyond problems to solutions knowing others will offer support and help.

I'm living happily and successfully off the grid. I think it makes a difference in our world and I know you cheer me on.

What are your goals and successes? Tell me and brighten my day. I want to cheer you on!


Blogger Trée said...

Very nice post Paul.

11/16/2005 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Interesting post - I have to laugh because some companies use that strategy of nearing the end of a goal to motivate people to buy or contribute. Door-to-door magazine sales crews use it too...

11/16/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gaye said...

Successes--having the courage to leave a long unhealthy marriage with no illusions of grandeur on the other side--leaving simply because it was what had to be done for my own "survival".

Goals--learning to live again; discarding old baggage; and being myself (a person I kinda like). It's easier said than done...and such is life.

11/16/2005 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I am inspired by your post.
It hits me at a good time for planning.

People are impressed by previous success, but they really root for the underdog who is very near achieving a lofty goal.

11/16/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

If I can have a positive effect on someone it makes me glow inside.
By the way, thanks for the fundraising tips!

11/17/2005 04:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i may have missed the point of this message...lets see if i understand correctly...
even Jewish people are mailing support letters and money to anti-Jewish organizations who are paying people to "stop the Jews? stop them from what? and that's your idea of success? wow! how far the evolution of man and our human values have come...thanks for sharing.

11/22/2005 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Anonymous, let me try to clarify. People are a mystery to me. I was amazed that Jewish people would help prejudiced people. I would have expected Jewish people -- and all rational, decent people -- to destroy the letters and the checks. I know I would if I found myself in that situation. However, it appears people are more complex -- and more mysterious -- than I realize.

11/22/2005 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am having difficulty understanding why you would single out Jewish people...and you were "amazed that Jewish people would help predjudiced people?"
i mean, what the heck do "they" normally do?
what you "expect" of Jewish people is part of what i refer to as preconceived belief systems, perhaps things we are taught at an early age as innocent children picking up the body language or the verbal language of our family regardless of what is taught on the surface...predjudicial thinking is certainly nothing new on this lovely earth, and i do understand that it comes from a place of fear and a possible ignorance, as do most hurtful and insensitive comments and actions. it just kind of tears at my heart to see that people havent come out of the dark ages all that much, and that hurtfulness towards people or races or concepts we dont fully understand or take part in ourselves, is very much rampant on this lovely earth. i am not a perfect person. i am actually a non-practicing jew myself, heck, i even married a nice anglican boy, and am a non-conventional thinker on this planet, but it breaks my heart to see people still thinking of Jews as anything other than part of the human beings that make up this planet, without having to tag anyone with any tasteless thoughtless feelingless hurtful labels. these are the things that our children end up learning and taking out into the world with them, not the phony lessons we try to teach them that come from our heads as opposed to our hearts...we need to clean up our own acts first and foremost on this planet...what's the saying? become the change you wish to see....its the only way for anyone to learn the lessons that truly matter on this earth. and at the end of the day, we only have ourselves to answer to...
i also appreciate your having the decency to respond to my upset, when you could have erased my letter. it says a lot about you, Paul. thank you.

11/22/2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...


I going to try to explain myself more fully and then ask a favor of you in the final paragraph.

Perhaps my original post isn't clear. Several years ago I discovered a book in a library that reported research done by some organization. Sorry, but I can't remember the title of the book or the author. The researchers designed the research for a Jewish neighborhood. I suppose they could have designed in for a non-white neighborhood by dropping letters addressed to the KKK. The researchers wanted to know how people, Jewish and non-Jewish, would react to prejudice. The letters were vague but communicated that the author of the letter was prejudiced against Jewish people. The researchers wanted to know if people would mail the letters or destroy them. Also, they wanted the opportunity to interview the finders of the letters to determine why that responded as they did.

I was raised in a prejudiced world and taught to be prejudiced. Fortunately, I became the recipient of prejudice and learned to rebel against it and reject it. It's important to me that you understand I did not single out Jewish people. I'm writing about what I read and the researchers’ conclusions.

It's easy for me to see the dark side of people -- prejudice, hatred, evil, etc. I enjoy finding examples where people behaved admirably as in this research. I found this research to show Jewish people as behaving honorably. Here’s a similar example. We may assume people are selfish and dishonest but there was a incident a few years ago where an armored car lost about $100,000 dollars on a busy city street. Most people, not all but most, picked up the money and returned it to the employees of the armored car service who were frantically trying to retrieve it. It appears most people are honest.

For me, people are people regardless of labels -- Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

In this present environment I sometimes find myself in conflict with Americans who want to view Muslims as horrible people. They are not! They are just like me. Sure, I can find references in the Qur'an/Koran to passages which seem to condone violence. Also, I can find many references in the Old Testament, New Testament and other religious writings which condone violence. However, I think these scriptures are useless if applied to individuals. They do not tell me what a person believes.

You might find it interesting that I sometimes visit clothing optional resorts and hot springs. Why? I do this because I enjoy the experience of meeting people without clues as to their education, wealth, religion and other classifications that are sometimes communicated by clothing. Obviously, I have clues as to gender and age but I find myself closer to a blank slate void of prejudice and bias. I have the opportunity to meet peope and let them reveal to me what they want me to know. It's a wonderful experience! By the way, those who think clothing-optional is an opportunity for sexual misconduct are greatly mistaken and prejudiced.

I would like to tell you that I have no prejudice but that would be a lie. I find it difficult not to be prejudiced against politicians.

If you are interested, I would be glad to write about some of my experiences with prejudice and the things I did to raise my children and teach them not to be prejudiced.

Now, I’ll ask the favor of you. I think the world is hopeless until we – you, I, other people -- can communicate with respect and patience. I want our discussion to be a positive example to others. If I’ve explained my position clearly, please let me know. If I haven’t made myself clear, please let me know – and we’ll try again.

11/22/2005 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always communicate with respect, Paul. not always with patience though. and i rarely state the kinds of feelings i have brought up with you here...the way it was presented to look like something else just kind of grabbed me in the heart and i responded almost before i could stop myself. i am not one of those people who go around screaming "racist!" or "predjudiced!" at the first hint of such an occurrence. for you are right...we live in a predjudiced is everywhere, it is taught and it is learned....there is nothing much you can do about it except "be the change you want to see in the world" the behaviour you want your children to learn is cheap, and often false.

so, back to your original post, which you say, perhaps, isnt clear...your original post was not entitled "Predjudice" or "Acting Honourably", or "Jews are Surprisingly Honourable and Even Help to Send Money Encouraging Other People To Support Anti-Jewish Organizations That Hate Them...." or "Predjudice is Contagious"... no, your post was entitled "Winning." and it was about how people are so mindless and thoughtless and feelingless, that they are more motivated by how successful something "LOOKS" than by their inner guidance. the people who saw that the supporters of this anti Jewish cause were sending their 18th, 19th or 20th check of support, were so influenced by what appeared to be the success of the organization in soliciting these hateful gestures, that they didnt even think that what was being asked of them was so hideously hateful and without feeling or compassion or just plain wrong...they saw that something was SO popular, it just had to be a good thing, and so they joined in, with their blinders on, just like all the people here who commented on what a LOVELY post this was...this post was not lovely Paul. if following people blindly and imitating the person in the line in front of you without conscience is your idea of success and winning, i just couldnt let this go by without expressing my feelings. and yes, i chickened out of putting my name here, because i wanted to have no clothes on like the people at the nudist colony you visit, so there would be no identity to my rant...and you complain that people complain but offer no solutions so i'd like to address that as well...
my solution to this upset is that people say what they mean and in order to be more honest about who we are, we need to reach down into our hearts minds bodies spirits and do our own soul searching and homework, so that what comes pouring from our mouths is clean and clear and pure instead of toxic and disguised to look like something else. we need to get our egos out of our way and see what vulnerable human beings we all are, and how one person is no better than another and how we can all be a help to one another instead of preaching that we know all this honourable stuff, when really, we dont. we need to learn how to be real, to face our deepest fears so we dont keep hiding behind this veil of truth at a time should get the ball rolling. and that includes myself in all this.

and why ever do you need our discussion to be a positive example to others? why does it need to be on show as such? why cant it just be whatever it is without needing to control its outcome. the most impressive thing you have done from this post is show me that you are kind and patient and open enough to work this out with me, and in public, which i usually find rather distasteful but that's where it is, so be it...
i, too, was raised in a predjudiced world and taught to be predjudiced as fact i have even been accused of being an anti-Semitic jew by someone in my family because i used to find my jewish neighbours to be some of the rudest people i have known and i would make terrible comments under my breath about them...i remember when my son was in the school lunchroom in grade 6, and 2 of the kids moved close together when he went to take a seat at a table and they said he couldnt sit there because "no Christians were allowed there", because they knew his dad was not jewish and it was a predominantly jewish where does one suppose they could ever possibly learn anything so hideous? and someone excluded my daughter from playing a game with them because "she had too much blubber..." she was too fat. people hate people because they're fat. people learn things and think things but they pretend they dont. they pretend they are good and kind and honourable and fair and clean and clear. but they are not. they are just merely human. you dont have to go to a place where people have no outside coating on them to take away their identity...our identity always remains within us no matter what we wear on the outside. people can have clothes on and still be different than what they wear on the outside. when i see people i see their insides, rarely their candy coating....its just a little problem i've had all my life. and nothing anyone really wants to know about.
your post was entitled Winning, Paul. but it wasnt about success. it was about people blindly following something they think looks good, because they have no faith in themselves or their inner guidance, which has all the truth we really need to know about in this world. because what is truly valuable about us, we have been taught doesnt matter.

11/23/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...


I’d like to respond with two points.

First, in response to your question “why ever do you need our discussion to be a positive example to others?”, it is my assumption that people follow examples and respond in like kind. If I am angry and aggressive then I, by example, teach those who read my blog that it’s OK to be angry and aggressive. If I am patient, sincere and compassionate then I communicate by example another message. In other words, I agree with you that we must "be the change you want to see in the world".

Second, let me rewrite what I was trying to say and leave out the details of the book and the research. Perhaps it would have been better if the entire post consisted of the following.

People like success! We want to see people succeed. We cheer them on and want to help. The closer a person is to success the more we cheer and help -- even if we don't agree with their goals. I read a book that summarized research that appears to support this statement. The researchers concluded that people want to see others win and succeed regardless of the goal.

11/23/2005 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think it is more important that we learn to not be afraid of our honest feelings, obviously not neccessarily to act them out thoughtlessly around others or to hurt people because of our feelings, but sometimes we do feel angry and aggressive, and if you tell me that you do not, Paul, i will not be able to have any more open hearted or honest discussions with you. i guess my biggest beef with your original post was that to me it appeared that something was hidden within the text that no one seemed to even notice, that i just found rather shockingly inhumane, probably because i cannot stand to be reminded how hateful people are taught to be, in this world, and how cleverly they disguise it, which is also probably why i asked you why our discussion and resolution of this issue had to be so "on show", so "for public display" and you have answered that you want people to emulate this positiveness and calm wisdom that you reek of, but we humans are not always that perfect, and you know it. instead of trying too hard to have a calm and rational, sincere, patient and compassionate conversation with me that everyone is suddenly going to start copying because they are suddenly bursting with goodness after witnessing such pristeen behaviour, why not just be yourself and speak to me openly and'd be amazed at the mountains you can move when you are truly being yourself, not forcing yourself to model some perfect behaviour just to teach others...besides, there's something about always needing to be the teacher that at times seems to subtly suggest that people are not able to come to their own learning in their own way, on their own path, in their own sweet needs to have faith that we will all find what we each need to discover for our own learning when the time is right.
i guess i'm just saying, please cut the crappo, no offense meant (and i mean that!) just be yourself...i believe we are all teachers, but also that we are all students as well here on earth, and i believe we all have things to learn about, and from, one another regardless of age, position, experience, status, clothes on, clothes off, etc etc...
so the question i asked (among the million other things i spoke of) was actually a 3 sentence question:
"and why ever do you need our discussion to be a positive example to others? why does it need to be on show as such? why cant it just be whatever it is without needing to control its outcome."

see, this looks much different to me than the one part of the question you selected and put on display:

"First, in response to your question “why ever do you need our discussion to be a positive example to others?”, it is my assumption that people follow examples and respond in like kind. If I am angry and aggressive then I, by example, teach those who read my blog that it’s OK to be angry and aggressive. If I am patient, sincere and compassionate then I communicate by example another message. In other words, I agree with you that we must "be the change you want to see in the world".

and this all looks lovely and impressive, but it has little to do with the issues i brought up in the first place, in spite of your cosmic answer.

and perhaps, instead of people wasting their time doing studies to find out how screwed up and inhumane people are willing to be when they dont follow their own hearts and inner wisdom, why didnt they just stick some sweet old nice, evolved guy on a bench near the mailbox and let him hand out checks and cups of coffee to strangers of all shapes and sizes, and maybe just chat with one another, share their hearts and souls a bit with each other, and make people feel perhaps a bit better than they usually feel....

ps i liked your post about Thanksgiving today. i must say i had similar thoughts, as i do with most holidays where people suddenly dig out this behaviour they dont seem to be able to generate the other 364 and a quarter days of the year...why not just celebrate thankfulness and be giving all year round?

thank you again for your patience and kindness Paul. and pardon the parts of my candidness that may appear a little less than mannerly. i get like that sometimes. i am actually surprisingly more compassionate than it may appear...its only because i have many feelings about the human condition, probably some quite similar to yours, just a different way of dealing with them...

oh, and happy thanksgiving to you and your family.

- lisa

11/24/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...


I'm not at home and won't be for a few days so I can't respond at this time.

Would you like to contine this discussion later?

11/25/2005 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am not anonymous anymore, i am lisa. would i like to continue this discussion later? only if you wish to respond to what i had written and i, in turn, wish to respond back...but if you dont wish to respond, that's fine too, and i suppose that would deem this particular conversation over...enjoy your travels...

11/25/2005 06:52:00 PM  

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