Saw a great advertisement for a certain brand of gin on the weekend, thanks to a blog by James Altucher, in which he explores why the main character of the ad, a bartender, is so likeable and complete ...
It's an entertaining post, which you can read here, but the part that caught my eye was how he describes the bartender as being "instinctively on the lookout to help people".
"If your constant thought throughout the day is 'What life can I save next?' then, over time, you build this instinct, and opportunities will happen throughout the day. You will be a non-stop superhero and the people around you will sense this about you," writes Altucher.
Of course, the bartender doesn't actually save anyone's life, he's just concerned for people's well-being.
He helps his offsider pass a message to a woman. He chats to a jilted bride and makes her crack a smile. He casually ejects a drunk from his establishment and messes up a pool shark humiliating a female player.
"And in doing so, you can see the respect the crowd gives him," writes Altucher, "the looks the girls give him. The space he becomes entitled to while he does his job. I know – it's a commercial. But it's not imaginary if you cultivate these things inside of yourself."
More than anything, you can see the bartender is a kind man. Not a pushover, by any means, but someone who has compassion and who habitually looks out for people.
It's interesting that the actor whom the director cast to play the bartender is also not traditionally handsome. His name is Fares Fares, a Swede born in Lebanon, whom you might have seen playing a baddie in the Denzel Washington movie Safe House.
A good guy of Middle Eastern appearance (there's a hard sell), but it works, it really works, because looking out for people is an enormously powerful trait.
We all have people in our lives who are struggling and, though you probably can't solve all their problems for them, you can make their transit through the day, the hour, just a bit rosier.
By making that phone call, stopping to chat, following up with a person you know is up against it at the moment, you're also making the world a better place - pure and simple.
Says Altucher: "Another way to cultivate this instinct is to be in a constant state of surrender.
"You don't have to believe in a higher power, you just have to picture yourself as transparent to ANY power (higher or inner or whatever you want to call it) and simply ask (out loud if possible) 'What do you want me to do next?'"
"If you always ask, 'What you do want me to do next?' and you ask it with sincerity and without trying to control the answer, the answer will always come. Again, it's a practice but, built up, it has many rewards. When you give, you can't help but receive," writes Altucher.
Some of you might think that is just happy-shiny-tree-hugger-palaver but I reckon it's one of the most practical, profound pieces of wisdom you'll ever hear.
And another thing: the music in the above-mentioned ad is also kicking, a song especially penned for the brand by Aloe Blacc, the dude who sings the song I Need a Dollar, featured in the credits for the great HBO series How to Make it in America.
I ain't the coolest person in the world, but I know it when I see it, and it's Blacc in this film clip.
Have a good one.