Darrell Brooks sang, with his red guitar, tucked in the corner of the sandwich shop during the lunchtime rush. The steady flow of lunch customers bustled past him in their return to the office. Every once in a while, a dollar or two would drop into his tip bowl. Darrell continued to sing a string of great covers, regardless of what fell in the bowl.
I usually seek to negotiate the best price that I can for my latest purchase. I ask for the greatest discount or scouring the web for a coupon code to knock the price lower and may have even burned a CD or two over the years. Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking, challenged me regarding compensating artists for delivery of their daring work.
As I watched Mr. Brooks and heard him sing, I learned something from across the room. Truly appreciating the artist, drove my desire to compensate Mr. Brooks in exchange for his creative efforts. This singer, with the red guitar, delivered the beauty of a well-covered song to a lunchtime crowd and taught me a lesson that was long overdue. The artist earns the generosity of fans by shipping creative work.
With extreme gratitude, I emptied the contents of my pockets for the schooling. $13.65 for a life lesson is an excellent deal. Ms. Palmer prepared me to hear the lesson and today; Mr. Brooks was my soulful teacher.
We have arrived at today through the tireless efforts of a host of others that have taught us about life. Some teachers were good and others poor, but lessons were learned either way. Taking the opportunity to extend generosity to those that initiated the virtue, can take many forms and is well worth the effort. These teachers are not expecting you, and your news is the best kind of surprise.
Thank-you Mr. Brooks.
Going Further: How have you been generous to those that have invested in you? Who is still waiting? What has been the outcome of expressing generous gratitude previously? What other questions come to mind regarding your teachers?