Earlier this year Mark Cuban was interviewed by Inc. Magazine President Eric Schurenberg at its annual GrowCo Conference (for those of you that don’t know him he’s an American businessman, investor and owner of the NBA‘s Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures, chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV and a “shark” investor on the television series Shark Tank.
Anyways, as accomplished as he is, the interview referred to above got a lot of press and was a national talking point for at least a week as Cuban had some strong opinions that he expressed.
Maybe you saw it and heard Mark say, “I know I’m prejudiced, and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways. If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.”
And maybe those comments upset you.
Being upset by his comments is certainly your right. While I took him to mean that we all have our flaws, blind spots, and preconceived notions, and recognizing we do is the first step towards change… you might take his comments differently. Just as Mark has a right to say what he thinks, you also have the right to decide how you feel about what he thinks.
But there’s something that happened at GrowCo you didn’t hear about.
Volunteers are often the backbone of huge events. A number of young entrepreneurs, many of them associated with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, helped out at GrowCo in exchange for free access to some of the sessions.
The day Cuban appeared one young man spent the entire day manning the green room door. I started to feel sorry for him. Here he was at this cool conference…. and he was stuck in a chair in a lonely hallway guarding a door.
At one point I stopped to chat with him. He knew Mark was coming in that afternoon. He was excited and even hoped to get a selfie with Mark. I didn’t say so but I knew that would never happen: Cuban’s time was tightly scheduled and local and national media were angling for any edge time. The constant crush of people would make the volunteer’s hopes of meeting Mark impossible.
Later Mark arrived at the venue, did some taped interviews, came to the green room and talked with Eric, chatted with people with sufficient juice to get in the door… he could not have been nicer. (Shoot, he even had time for me.)
Then, suddenly, it was time for him to be onstage. I was just inside the doorway as the group was sweeping past, glimpsed the volunteer sitting outside, and thought, “Oh, f— it.”
“Excuse me, Mark,” I said.
A number of eyes narrowed. Didn’t I realize he needed to get to the stage?
“Yes?” Mark said.
“There’s a volunteer who’s been stuck out there all day guarding the door,” I said. “He would love a picture with you. Can I run him in here really quickly?”
I’ve been in similar situations and 99% of the time celebrities keep their heads down, mumble an insincere, “Sorry,” (if they say anything at all) and sweep past.
Not this time. Mark stopped, smiled, gestured to volunteer David Head, and said, “Hey, let’s get a picture together.” And they did.
And here it is.
I’ve met Mark Cuban. We only talked for ten seconds, so I don’t know Mark Cuban.
But I like him.
Why? Like you, like me, Mark is the sum of all his parts. Yet we experience him (as we experience most people) in slices. One slice is what Mark said at GrowCo. You may not like that slice. Another slice is how he runs the Mavericks or his other businesses. Another is how he performs on Shark Tank.
You may like or dislike those slices, and that’s fine. We shouldn’t all like — much less admire — the same things. We shouldn’t always agree with each other. We shouldn’t even always like each other.
But one slice that is hard not to like is a guy who, even though pressed for time and seconds away from going onstage in a packed auditorium, is happy to stop to do something nice for a person he doesn’t know — just because he can.
That slice is really hard not to like.
I guarantee David Head won’t forget that slice, and someday when he’s a successful entrepreneur in his own right I feel sure David will treat young entrepreneurs with the same grace and kindness.
But how you think about Mark Cuban is largely irrelevant. What matters is how you think about and therefore treat the people close to you.
It’s easy to view even those we know extremely well through the lens of one slice — a mistake, a misstep, a blunder, an ill-chosen word — and then forever view them through the lens of that moment. Yet everyone is the sum of their parts, and when we view people through the lens of that one slice we miss the rest of them: their skills, their strengths, their meaning in our lives….
The reverse is true where we’re concerned: people often view us through the lens of one or two moments and forever perceive us that way. (Is that fair? No. Is that reality? Absolutely.)
Granted we can’t always say yes. Nor can we always help. And we definitely can’t always provide endless chunks of time to everyone who asks.
But we can always take a moment to be nice, or to be gracious, or to be kind, for no other reason than because we can — and because it’s the one slice everyone deserves to see.
SOURCE: Wiki and Jeff Hayden
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