Gene Wilder is among the best of the best. So many amazing movies from Blazing Saddles to The Producers are forever etched in our collective memories. How many of us find ourselves quoting his lines from Young Frankenstein?
It isn’t just the big movies. Even the smaller ones have continued impact. He made an appearance as Mock Turtle in one version of Alice in Wonderland, singing “Beautiful Soup.” To this day, I use it in conversation. Recently, on a rare vacation, my family was staring at the gorgeous blue waters. I said, “Isn’t this a beautiful soup?” They immediately knew the reference.
Like many others, I think there’s simply nothing better than the way Gene Wilder portrayed Willy Wonka. It was pure genius. And his lines! The lines that most often find their way into my mind at the oddest of times. And, truth be told, I have found myself staring, like Wonka does, off in the distance, imagining.
My hope is that he heard this first line after passing:
“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.”
Here are some of those Willy Wonka lines to remember the actor. If you’re a fan, you will likely hear Gene Wilder’s voice in your head as your read them. And, if you think about them, you’ll also find some wisdom that will make you think.
“We have so much time and so little to see. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.”
Meeting a new business contact can be nerve-wracking. Just like a first date, your first impression is of the utmost importance, as it can determine the trajectory of the arrangement. And while rehearsing what you are going to say and arguments you intend to make can be helpful, a major part of making a good first impression has to do with unspoken qualities such as body language, hygiene, and preparedness. Below you will find a few aspects that should always be at the front of your mind when you schedule a meeting.
1. Research before the meeting
Find out as much as you can about the client and company involved in the meeting. Learn about their goals, values, and interests. Use LinkedIn to get a sense of the person’s background or find common threads. Prepare some questions based on your research, and get ready to make it clear they are important to you.
“He who does not research has nothing to teach.” -Proverb
Your body language is capable of communicating almost as much as your actual words, so it’s important to be intentional with it. Remember to maintain good posture—no slouching! Not only will slouching communicate a lack of confidence and composure, but also it isn’t great for your back. You may have also guessed that a firm handshake is important, too. Make sure that your handshake is indeed firm, but also keep in mind that it isn’t a test of strength and should not be overly firm.
Tip: Your body language communicates as much as your words.
While meetings often take place outside of the office, that’s no excuse to go uber casual on the clothing front. Take some time to consider the right outfit, whether it be a full suit or something business casual. Of course, this will depend on the industry. Silicon Valley is a good example of the shift in attitudes toward dress, as jeans paired with blazers or black turtleneck sweaters grow in popularity, even among people in leadership positions. But when in doubt, dress up.
“Dressing well is a form of good manners.” -Tom Ford
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of those timeless classic movies loved by children and adults. A frustrated inventor shows promise, but nothing seems to work until he modifies an old car and transforms it into a flying machine. The adventure captivates audiences to this day, long after its 1968 debut.
Dick Van Dyke plays that inventor. Recently, at age 90, decades after the film was produced, he surprised everyone by singing while having breakfast at Denny’s.
“Imagination is the true magic carpet.” -Norman Vincent Peale
You could see that some people in the restaurant missed the magic. Maybe they were too busy (and we all appreciate those still working and focused on the customers no matter what was going on). Maybe stress robbed them of the moment. For whatever reason, some people just missed it.
It may have seemed like a casual breakfast at Denny’s. No big deal, nothing special. But, for those who were open to recognizing the moment, it was magic. A lifetime memory.
Look around you today. There’s hidden talent wherever you go. There are people who have capabilities you don’t begin to realize. If you’re open to these moments, your whole life changes.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Michael about his research and new book. Michael Alden is the founder and CEO of Blue Vase Marketing and a recipient of SmartCEO Magazine’s 2016 Future 50 Award.
What made you decide to research the concept of 5%?
After the publication of my first book, Ask More, Get More, I received some fantastic feedback and accolades. But as I continued to speak with people about achieving their goals, I found that many of them wanted more. Despite all of the time and money they put into “personal development,” they were not where they wanted to be. I wondered, why are so many people stuck? Is there something that the average, everyday person can do to get ahead? And is it something that is truly achievable, something that doesn’t cost money, something that yields real tangible results?
I reflected on what would happen if we applied just 5% More to virtually every aspect of our lives. Was there research that showed what 5% More can do? I didn’t have the answer, so I began to study what our lives would look like if we had, did, or wanted just 5% More. The information I found and the science to support what just a little effort can do in virtually every aspect of our lives was compelling. But when I dug a little deeper for anecdotal evidence into my own life and the lives of other successful people, it was even more astounding and profound. Instead of trying to make big changes, the way for any person, anywhere in the world, to improve his or her life, health, wealth, or relationships, and achieve their goals is by just adding 5% More effort.
“Get a little success, and then just get a little more.” –Maya Angelou
Would you share an example of someone who achieved success by applying the 5% More concept?
I sold cars right after I graduated from college. There was a tall, skinny, somewhat awkward, but enthusiastic salesperson named Brian there whom I will never forget. He taught me so many things, not only about selling cars but about how to approach life. He was also on top of the sales leaderboard month after month, and he always gave just a little more effort every day.
One day, he sold FIVE cars. Even for some of the largest dealerships in the country, five in one day is a lot of cars. It was getting late, just before closing on a hot summer night. Brian had already sold those FIVE cars, and he saw a customer out on the lot. He jumped from his desk and headed out to greet the customer. But just before he did, I asked him why. I said, “Brian, you have already sold five cars.” He told me something amazing. He said, “Mike, every day I tell myself I want to just sell one car, then once I sell that car, I tell myself I want to sell just one more, until it is time to go home.”
Every day, Brian took himself just a little bit further and achieved above-average results. You see, he was working until close anyway, so why not do just a little bit more? Oh, I bet you are wondering what happened with that customer. Well, Brian did not sell that customer that night, but the next day when Brian showed up for work, the customer from the previous night did as well. Brian’s efforts, gave him a sale the next day.
I’m a “big guy.” I played football my whole life, and I’ve told people if I have an addiction, it would be food. I’ve always gone to the gym most of my life, but fitness results are mostly achieved through diet. When you look at the diet industry and all of the fads that come out year after year, what happens with most if not all plans is that people can’t maintain them. I did the research and our brains work best and adapt at optimal levels when gradually modified, when gradually changed until that change becomes habit. So, as a big guy, I hit an all-time high weight about six months ago, and I was shocked. I was 272 pounds. I’ve tried everything you can imagine – from pills, powders and potions – for that quick instant change we all want. But, it doesn’t exist. Today, I am 245 pounds, still off from my ideal weight but much healthier. That is a little over a pound a week that I have lost. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been gradual and sustainable. I put a plan in place that works for me, and each week I try to get a little bit better. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. That is the best part about the 5% More mentality, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to work at it a little bit and be aware of your gradual steps each day. I joke around and say my next book is going to change the diet world. It’s a concept that I think most people will recognize. The title will be Eat Less Exercise More.
“The last 3 or 4 reps is what makes muscle grow. The area of pain divides the champion from someone else.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger