Messages from the Masters
Sand, Pearls and Strength of Character by Bob Burg

Besides making life a lot less stressful and a lot more fun, mastering the art of positive persuasion is, in and of itself, one of the best methods for developing our character. Why is that?

Because, prior to using just the right words and phraseology to gently take a person from a negative direction, to another that will benefit us both, we must take first things first. In other words, before we can successfully take a potentially difficult situation (usually in the form of a difficult person) and turn that into a mutually beneficial result, we must first become proficient at dealing with ourselves.

As we all know, nobody can make us angry without our permission, but it's difficult sometimes to not give them permission, isn't it? :-) The good news is that every time we improve in this area, even just a little bit, we can take pleasure in having greatly improved our strength of character.

In his book, "Guard Your Anger," Rabbi Moshe Goldberger says, "G-d created oysters with the capacity to transform an irritating piece of sand into a pearl. This serves as a model for us - every trial contains precious jewels which we can find and develop." One of those trials certainly is dealing with a person who is either intentionally or unintentionally being difficult or irritating.

Philosopher/statesman, Edmund Burke, pointed out that "He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper." Yes, he or she is, but in order to appreciate that person instead of resenting them, we must continually keep that statement in mind.

And, in his 1909 classic, "Peace, Power and Plenty," Orison Swett Marden, wrote: "Self-Control is the very essence of character. To be able to look a man straight in the eye, calmly and deliberately, without the slightest ruffle of temper under extreme provocation, gives a sense of power which nothing else can give. To feel that you are always, not sometimes, master of yourself, gives a dignity and strength to character, buttresses it, supports it on every side, as nothing else can. This is the culmination of thought mastery."

Remembering any of the above quotes and philosophies at a time when someone does something irritating takes forethought, rehearsal and self-discipline. It is not necessarily an easy task. Then again, it isn't supposed to be. As the grain of sand was described as "irritating" before being turned into the pearl, so is that person irritating before you turn them into friend. Just think; all that time, without even knowing it, he or she was helping you to grow.


Bob Burg

Bob Burg is author of "Winning Without Intimidation" and "Endless Referrals." To receive 20% off on Bob's products visit or call 877-929-0439.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International