People – You get what you give!

I have been told this advice by numerous cruisers “You get what you give!”. For a long time I was confused what that meant. I know it generally means to treat people as you want to be treated, but I didn’t actually “Get it” till I was here. You see… That advice applies to everything, not just “business” dealings with people. Every interaction with someone, take the time to actually have the interaction. Don’t just say “Hi, good morning”. Say “Hi, good morning, how you doing today”, then REALLY listen when they respond. Of course you sometimes need to change the verbiage depending on who you are talking to e.g. “You winning, loosing, or getting kicked in the balls?”. In any case, I’m astounded at the change in my own quality of life from such a trivial thing. People are so different when you look them in the eyes are are generally interested in their response. An amazing thing happens.. You actually make friends with people you may not have given a second glance.


This leads me to the people. The people you meet and truly get to know and bond with in such short times. I mean REALLY bond, not like I have ever encountered. I had a small taste of this with Barb and Stu off La Luna. They are the couple that buddy boated with us from Cancun. We met them through Tim and Reba (tropical fun). Both the couples I became closer to than any friendship I have had a work. Its just something different.


Down here, the “get what you give” philosophy is paying back the same! I have met great people…. but people I probably wouldn’t have given 5 minutes time in my previous life. These aren’t people with big houses or fancy cars! Damn most don’t even own cars. Yet they are somehow more genuine and honest than I have every encountered. So here are some examples.


  1. A younger fellow (maybe 19) wandering around the boatyard, sometimes with other kids, sometimes not. He was clearly not white, and spoke with a deep “south” accent. In the past I would have wrote him off as trash, a “boatyard rat”, but not now. I ensured I engaged him every chance I could get. In the end we had a fantastic chat about his life growing up in the boatyard and how he has moved away so he can work and build a life. Not a rich life, but he understood he needed to support himself and any family he may have. He said, that his life in the boatyard had shown him what happiness was. He had seen couples roll in on million dollar yatchs who were clearly not happy, yet the others showed up on 30ft $1000 boats and the happiness was clear in their eyes.
  2. A fellow named Derick at the bar down the street. I came in to have a beer and get the WIFI password so I could “borrow” internet. My attire lead Derick to talk with me as everyone was wearing parkas and toques and I was in a T-shirt and shorts. After hours of talking, he gave me the name of a local chandelier and  told me to use his name to buy things. Locals help locals, and the %10 discount was very appreciated.
  3. Finally the fellow who wandered by my boat yesterday. He commented on how hard I was working and that I might need some help. At first, I was “standoffish” as I’m bullheaded and wanted to do everything myself. Yet, his offer of $8/hour for ANY job, was just too appealing. I mean I could double my progress on hull polishing for like $65/day. Well I called him this morning and left a message, pretty sure he wouldn’t show up (you have to know Key West). Not only did he show up. but somebitch, he outworked me. The guy not only worked harder, but his quality of work was phenomenal. During our work and later over a beer and Monster milk (he doesn’t drink) I learned he is highly educated and his father was a Stanford and Harvard grad. He was injured in a diving accident (severe bends) training Navy seals (YES THOSE SEALS) and has struggled to recover. A great worker and wonderful man I may not have met had I not changed my habits. His name is Howard, and I’m sure I will be glad to have met him for the rest of my life!

So there you have it.. A simple thing that changed my life. Try it.. Ask people how they are, try to connect with them, be truly interested in what they say. Maybe it will increase your quality of life like it has increased mine. What do you have to lose, 10 minutes of “work” ;)?


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