The Secret to Great Opportunities? The Person You Haven’t Met Yet: Tanya Menon (Transcript)

Here’s an idea as to how to do so. Look at words like “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome” in other languages. Look at the literal translation of these words. Each of these words is a word that helps us impose upon other people in our social networks. And so, the word “thank you,” if you look at it in Spanish, Italian, French, “gracias,” “grazie,” “merci” in French. Each of them are “grace” and “mercy.” They are godly words. There’s nothing economic or transactional about those words. The word “you’re welcome” is interesting. The great persuasion theorist Robert Cialdini says we’ve got to get our favors back. So we need to emphasize the transaction a little bit more. He says, “Let’s not say ‘You’re welcome.’ Instead say, ‘I know you’d do the same for me.'” But sometimes it may be helpful to not think in transactional ways, to eliminate the transaction, to make it a little bit more invisible. And in fact, if you look in Chinese, the word “bú kè qì” in Chinese, “You’re welcome,” means, “Don’t be formal; we’re family. We don’t need to go through those formalities.” And “kembali” in Indonesian is “Come back to me.” When you say “You’re welcome” next time, think about how you can maybe eliminate the transaction and instead strengthen that social tie. Maybe “It’s great to collaborate,” or “That’s what friends are for.”

I want you to think about how you think about this ticket that you have to travel your social universe. Here’s one metaphor. It’s a common metaphor: “Life is a journey.” Right? It’s a train ride, and you’re a passenger on the train, and there are certain people with you. Certain people get on this train, and some stay with you, some leave at different stops, new ones may enter. I love this metaphor, it’s a beautiful one. But I want you to consider a different metaphor. This one is passive, being a passenger on that train, and it’s quite linear. You’re off to some particular destination. Why not instead think of yourself as an atom, bumping up against other atoms, maybe transferring energy with them, bonding with them a little and maybe creating something new on your travels through the social universe.

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Thank you so much. And I hope we bump into each other again.

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