I continue to read Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. I continue to mull.
Another issue with networking is the Ulterior Motive.
Allow me to illustrate with an excerpt from Star of Justice, modified slightly for clarity:
“I would encourage you to stay here and rest a bit. My tribe can supply you with faster horses than you currently have, and possibly an escort, once I talk with Yerkaa. I would wager you could reach Golor City in four days of hard riding,” Rhami said.
Caissa studied the short wizard. After a sleepless night, he had no more stubble than he’d started with. Merritt would have sprouted half a beard by now. “Why would you do that?”
Rhami tugged on his robe. “Professional courtesy. One wizard helping another’s apprentice. Once Gamaliel has set you straight, he’ll remember I helped you when you needed it.”
“I suppose he would,” she said.
“Without doubt.” He nodded smugly. “It never hurts to do a good deed where it can be appreciated, and, perhaps, someday reciprocated.”
Rabbi Lapin says you have to get around this Ulterior Motive by developing a genuine desire to help people without thought of personal gain. Rhami obviously hasn't learned this trick yet. Don't judge him too harshly. He has his reasons.
But how does one develop a genuine desire to help people? Is this something I can learn? Do I want to learn it?
I must admit, when Rabbi Lapin first posited a subconscious bias against businessmen propagated and reinforced by general society (that summation makes him sound like a conspiracy nut, but he makes a better and longer argument in the book), I thought he was crazy. Unfortunately, the more I mull, the more I believe him.
I am biased against successful business people. And I consider myself a capitalist!
Another example. I suspect PYP opened the door for October Fantasy Month to promote sales of their newest book, Terry Burns' A Writer's Survival Guide to Getting Published. Part of me resents them deeply for playing on the hopes and dreams of would-be writers with their callous attempts to wrest hard-earned cash from the destitute.
Nice, huh? If that doesn't bias them against me, nothing will.
But that's the current socialist culture talking. I will not be a socialist!
Why should I resent someone with valuable information presenting that information in a way profitable to both parties? If Terry Burns really can increase my ability to publish, why should I resent paying him for that information? It is a mutually beneficial exchange. That's what capitalism is. You benefit. I benefit. We all benefit.
And isn't PYP extremely concerned with good marketing? Shouldn't I be happy they're practicing what they preach?
TT: This post probably belongs in Old Fashioned Thoughts, but I started here and here I will finish.
Back to my original question: is this genuine desire to help others something I can learn?
I think it is. I think it comes down to behavior modification, something else Rabbi Lapin discusses at length.
Big Brother says "the mind leads the body." He also says "the body leads the mind." Big Brother is a 30-year practitioner of martial arts. If anybody would know, he would.
Sometimes your brain tells your body what to do, but just as often, your physical response trains your thinking. Martial arts trains the body but in doing so, the mind is also trained.
So, if I act genuinely interested, I will eventually become genuinely interested. That's my plan, anyway. We'll see how it goes.
And for those who now see me as the most self-absorbed person in the Universe, it is my prayer you continue to not relate too closely to my problems.