Posted by: altmike | November 10, 2012

The Power of a Handshake

I have met a lot of people in my young life and the one thing that I have learned most is how to judge character. Some people’s character is better than others, that is just a plain fact. We have all met people that have extraordinary character and then we have also crossed paths with individuals who need to reevaluate themselves. My keen sense of judging character comes from the most simplistic act of introduction; a hand shake.

I was always taught to give a nice firm hand shake and look that person in the eye because that signifies confidence and respect. Now as you might imagine, shaking someone’s hand for me is a little different. That is the moment when all bets are off, and whether or not I wanted to hide my hands or not, at that point I don’t have a choice; I’m seen for who I am at that moment. Growing up it was something that was a little awkward for me and if I could avoid doing it, I would. As I got older however I learned something about people. I learned that people for the most part had one of two responses. They would either shake my hand and not realize a difference or maybe look down quickly and not give it a second thought. Or there were those people that would continue to stare, make an inquisitive face and it was as if you could see the judgment spewing from their eyes. What I quickly learned was that the first reaction type people generally displayed better character as I got to know them. Generally those who continued to stare or jumped in shock turned out to display more signs of ignorance and flawed character. Can I blame them? Absolutely not, however that person’s first reaction gave me an inside look at who they are as a person.

By nature, we are curious beings. When we see something out of the ordinary, our first reaction is to want to know or learn more. What we have to realize is that there is a line to everyone’s interest that shouldn’t be crossed. I see unique people every day that walk among us. Some people have missing limbs or are in a wheel chair. I’ve seen burn victims that have permanent scars to their face or arms. It’s ok to look, because that is our natural reaction. Though what you do after that is telling of your character.

I have always said that I have been given a gift and part of that gift is the ability to see people in a different light. I can tell within a 2 second reaction period whether or not I want to continue to get to know this person. Instead of shying away from a handshake as I did for most of my youth, I now welcome that opportunity with open arms.

As we meet people every day we need to think about whether or not the people we hold close in our lives accept us for who we are and if they don’t, then they don’t deserve to be in our lives in the first place. Have compassion for others no matter who they are, what they look like or where they come from. Realize that 93% of communication is non-verbal, so even when you aren’t saying a word , you are subconsciously speaking volumes.

Can’t is not an Excuse

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