In the 110th episode of Seinfeld, entitled “The Understudy”, J. Peterman is sitting in a restaurant with Elaine and asks, “That Shirt. Where did you get it?”
Elaine, not missing a beat, “Oh, this innocent looking shirt has something which isn’t innocent at all. Touchability! Heavy, silky Italian cotton, with a fine almost terrycloth like feeling. Five button placket, relaxed fit, innocence and mayhem at once.”
Peterman responds, “That’s NOT bad!”
Sure, Mr. Peterman asked where she got the shirt, but why? If Elaine just named a store, that would’ve been that. But, she recognized and responded to his interest, not his question. He hired her on the spot and it wasn’t even an interview.
Peterman’s character is based on an actual clothing company of the same name. The following is taken directly from the J. Peterman website about just one of the many articles of clothing they sell: “Thomas Jefferson disliked stuffy people, stuffy houses, stuffy societies. So he changed a few things. Law. Gardening. Government. Architecture. Of the thousand castles, mansions, chateaux you can walk through today, only Monticello, only Jefferson’s own mansion, makes you feel so comfortable you want to live in it. I think you will feel the same about his 18th-century shirt. Classic. Simple. Livable.”
It’s a damn shirt! But, I want one.
We’re human and we respond to the “why”. The what and how comes after our limbic system is lit up with interest. Once that is fed, our neo cortex is ready to process intel. It doesn’t quite work the other way around.
Imagine this instead: “That Shirt. Where did you get it?” “Dillards. It was on sale.”
How about this? “You practice yoga? Where?”
It’s not about the address. Not yet. It’s about what the place feels like, instinctively and intuitively: “Want to hug it out with the universe? This is the place. You instantly feel the energy of this ancient science and the comfort of acceptance. Inner and outer strength, flexibility, peace, and wellbeing, harmonized with breath, focus, wisdom, and effort. Yes; this is your journey. The one you’ve been looking for.”
Whatever the conversation, if someone shows passionate interest, don’t slam the door with rote information. Take them on a journey. Give them the story, the “why”, the soul.
But, then … some people just want the address.
Photo by DeMorris Byrd on Unsplash