It's full of advice for getting along in relationships, succeeding at a job, and pursuing their artistic goals. I've gotten some pretty great reviews from others who've read it, so I think I'll take that plunge and actually try to get it published once I've fine-tuned it.
In the meantime, I'm going to post bits of it here. I'd greatly appreciate your honest feedback if you have any opinions. So let me know if you think I should change something to make it more clear or more helpful.
Rather than starting at the beginning, I'm going to excerpt one of my favorite chapters – liars and their warning signs. I know that sounds like a very strange place to start, but I thought I'd dive right in with something juicy – helping you to spot liars wherever they lurk. (Let me know if this is helpful!)
EXCERPT FROM: Life, Love Ma - words of advice for my kids (and for you!):
liars and their warning signs
One of the most important lessons you will ever learn is how to spot a liar. Your money or your life may depend on this. Please pay attention. When your father wasn’t working and I had not gotten my first job yet and we were losing our house, I was so desperate that I answered one of those “get rich quick” ads in the paper. I figured I was smarter than most people, so if anyone could get rich quick, it would be me. I attended meetings, made a modest investment, and began learning how to sell water filters. Little did I know that the man teaching us how to succeed only owned the one very expensive suit he was wearing and sunk every last penny into buying the BMW he showed off as a sign of his success. He was soon to lose the car and the false grin he always wore, as well as the expensive suit which, if you looked closely, had thread-bare cuffs and would soon have actual holes.
But this smooth-talking charlatan was not the leader of the cult I’d joined. The real leader wanted $3,000 from me (and hundreds just as desperate as I was) to attend a sales seminar in California where we’d learn the real art of selling water filters by becoming better people and therefore better sales people. I eagerly signed up, putting the fee, the flight and the hotel room on a credit card so that I could start making money as quickly as possible.
This guy was quite an impressive motivational speaker. He had thousands of us in that ballroom in that hotel whipped into a frenzy of fired-up enthusiasm. He was so inspirational and motivational that we were all convinced we were about to become as rich as him. And he really was rich. Not because of water filters, as he claimed, but because of his power to persuade people as desperate as I was to hand over their last dime to him.
He did teach me three very important things, though. The three things I’m about to share cost me $1,000 each when we were penniless and about to lose our home, so don’t take them lightly. These costly lessons could save your house one day, or your life. It sounds dramatic, but in my experience, it could well be true.
Thousand-dollar Lesson #1: Our Obedient Nature
He said to everyone in the audience, “Stand up.” Then he said, “Sit down.” And thousands of people stood up and sat down. Then he said to us, “This is how to get what you want. People are by nature obedient. Just tell them what to do and they’ll do it almost every time.”
Learn both sides of this coin. If you honestly need something, ask for it. It never hurts to ask and it often works. Ask for a raise, for a helping hand, for a loan, for extra time to finish a project...if you need it, it’s worth the effort to ask.
But also learn this: those that would take advantage of you need only ask you for that favor, that lift in your car, that money, etc. and if you aren’t careful they could rob you or even harm you. Think before you obey the commands of someone you don’t know or have not learned by experience to trust. Watch out for the smooth talker who makes handing over your safety or your treasures feel so right.
Thousand-dollar Lesson #2: Confidence as a Tool and as a Snare
He told us that if you say anything with confidence it becomes believable. If two people say the same thing, you’ll believe the one who speaks confidently and you won’t believe the one who doesn’t. Speak with confidence and people will believe you. If you have a message to impart, and you want to be taken seriously, don’t apologize. Don’t hesitate. Don’t be afraid – say what you have to say with confidence and you will be heard.
But also learn this: liars have a great deal of confidence. Their success is wholly tied to their ability to sound truthful. The confidence with which someone tells a lie makes it feel true. Listen to the words, not the confi-dence. Consider the consequences of the actions, the motivation of the speaker–what do they have to gain? Don’t believe it if it’s too good to be true. How many times have you heard this? The most harmful person, the one who will break your heart and rob you blind, is the one who wins your trust with buttery smooth lies.
Thousand-dollar Lesson #3: Listen and Learn
The third thing he taught us was that if you listen really hard, people will tell you who they are. If someone says, “I’d never lie to you,” that tells you they are probably lying. Someone telling you the truth won’t go through the effort to convince you of it, they’ll just tell you the truth.
If someone says, “I don’t want to take your money,” they are after your mon-ey. If someone says, “I’d never hurt you,” just wait. It’s exactly what they’ll do. By pointing out what they want you to believe about them, they are confessing what they’re really up to. Listen well, my dear, listen very well. Let your mind open wide to, not just the words, but why the words would be necessary. One who cares for you would never need to say they mean you no harm. Run the other way.
Likewise, if someone has mixed feelings – they do care for you but they know their true nature is that they’re no good for you – they will confess it in a lame attempt to protect you. Let me explain: If someone says to you, “I’m no good for you;” “I have a dark side;” “You don’t really know me,” etc. ... this is the big red flag everyone only sees in hindsight. I’m here to tell you now, while you’re young, before you get too burned, that there is no reason for you to feel obligated, guilty, or sorry for taking that confession at face value and walking away. Just do it. Every emotion and every impulse will be to stay and prove them wrong. To show them they’re really good. To convince them you were meant to be together. That you can change or help them. That they aren’t as bad as they think. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong .... did I say that clearly enough? Wrong. When they’re ready to be the person you deserve, which is certainly possible, they can give you a call. For now it’s time to politely excuse yourself from the relationship. You made a mistake; this isn’t what you want right now. Done. Think of that painful decision as pulling a piece of glass from your foot. It really hurts to do it. It hurts much, much more if you wait.