Greatest Lesson in Life, I learned from a Salesman

Charlton Haupt
Charlton Haupt is a Husband and Father who really loves to hear and tell a good story!
Human Connections

Apr 30,2017

It was quite a year for the family in 1997. Mom had broken 7 disks in her neck, and at the beginning of the year had her second surgery and was on the road to recovery. Once she began to recover, we moved south for better weather, and after the third moved we found ourselves in Grand Junction, Colorado at the beginning of my seventh grade year.

School was difficult that year. I had gone from a Christian private school in Washington to a public middle school in a new state. Not only did the culture of the state we now lived in change, but the school culture was vastly different – a private school to a public one, and an elementary school to a middle school. I was dumbfounded when I saw kids kissing in the hallway. All I could think was, “We are kids, why are they doing what adults do? Am I the only one seeing this?”

It wasn’t long until I was being made fun of. Of course all the kids viciously teased each other, but I didn’t know how to handle it. The looks and name calling, being the butt of someone’s joke or a group’s joke day in and day out was unbearable. Pretty soon all I wanted to do was be liked/accepted, or at the very least invisible.

It’s a hard reality that we live in, but the truth of it is, the more painful the experience, the deeper and more memorable the lesson you learn from it.

I was out on a walk with Dad (a salesman) in our neighborhood which was just below the Colorado National Monument. As the big sand stone cliffs peered down on us, the sun beautifully orange beginning to set behind them and a warm breeze gently blowing in our faces, I began telling Dad all the hardships of school and how much I hated it, how I didn’t understand why people were so mean, and didn’t know how to make friends in this new environment.

There was quiet and beauty as we walked along and then Dad asked, “Charlton, what do people care about more than anything else? What do your peers care about the most?”

As we walked I thought as hard as I could and after several minutes the only answer I could come up with was “Power? They seem to be in position of influence and all I can see is them wanting more.”

“No,” Dad replied, “not power. It’s not power they care about as much as this. Power is completely secondary to what they care about the most. They care about themselves. More than anything else in the whole world, they care about them. And you do the same. You care about yourself the most, and that is why we are having this conversation. You haven’t exactly been nice to everyone when they hurt you have you?”

I knew he was right in his questioning my character in this. I hadn’t been nice. I had been acting like a hurt dog that bit anyone coming near to help.

“People love to talk about what they care about most, and therefore you need to get them to talk about them. Ask them questions about them, listen when they answer, and ask another question based off their previous answer. Get good at asking questions about other people. If you do this, you can have a whole conversation with someone about them, and they may walk away from the conversation knowing nothing about you except your name, but they’ll know this…they’ll know that they like you.”

That year was incredibly hard, but that lesson from my Dad was worth it all. All the tears and pain were simply tilling the soil for the seed of that lesson to take root.

It took a long while to develop the skill, but in the process I have learned that when you do this with no ulterior motive, you are simply doing what Jesus said to do, to love others as yourself.

In any relationship, it holds true that when you put others first and actively listen to them and what they have to say, you’ll find yourself loving them for who and where they are, and they’ll find that they love you for genuinely caring and wanting to know them.

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