A Personal Take on an Impersonal Forward

BS You Can Use 650

I like it when members of my community share posts and slogans and other gems they get online with me. I like it even more when they tell me how they relate to it personally. A personal take on an impersonal forward highlights things I might miss, shows me how knowledge and inspiration are lived (how the talk walks), and helps me know my buddies better. I understand that when people forward something that touches them deeply, it feels personal to them. Yet, it’s someone else’s words. If people don’t personalize their forwards, I often will invite them to tell me what moved them. I sometimes share my own personal twist for the gems they shared with me.


Today I share an online gem with you. The Behavioral Scientist from Vital Smarts “share BS you can use.” I love it. This particular post shows how Santa’s wording can evoke generosity from the children who answer the age old question, “What do you want for Christmas?”

When Santa follows that conversation by asking what they would like to give someone for Christmas, the children show more generosity in a subsequent experiment about sharing. You can read about it here.   

What struck me about the post? Well, the before experiment, where only the “what do you want” question gets asked, gives the impression that the kids are selfish and there is no generosity to evoke. The question about giving for Christmas surfaces a generosity that an observer would assume isn’t there. The second, giving question shows that it is.

Like that, when conversations get challenging, it’s easy to assume there is no grace to evoke in the other person. We might not even try.  Instead, we might conclude the situation is impossible and there’s nothing we can do – when in fact a simple shift can alter the dynamic. 

You don’t know until you try. Yes, like all of us, there have been times when I’ve concluded the other really doesn’t care about me, and any further efforts to find common ground is time and energy better invested elsewhere.

But there have been many other times where, by simply changing the frame or dynamic, I have discovered there is much more to this person than I had concluded from our initial exchanges. 

What do you want to give for Christmas?

If you were to forward this post, how would personalize it? What struck you personally?

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