How to stay focused: The “people-collector” style

Jun 25, 2008 by

Do you have problem with focus? Are you influenced by others easily?

Focus is a problem for me as what I have ever shared here. My experience recently has led me to learn one mindset to help me overcoming the flaw. It is a mindset of becoming a people-collector.

I met up with several friends the past few weeks that got me influenced. Each of them is different. They have different stage of life, different focus, values and priorities in life. Instead of enjoying the conversation, I was feeling overwhelmed with all their priorities that they want to share and teach me with.

I know that they meant it for my good; it worked for them so they tried to impart their value to me. They have good intentions, yet that made me confused. It’s the time where I learn some important lessons, that I don’t have to be anyone else, and I can learn to become a people collector.

What is a “people collector”?
Imagine yourself as a collector! One that relates to woman might be a shoe collection. Men might consider themselves as wine collector, or maybe, tie collector. But now, it’s not about collecting material, it’s about collecting people.

Collecting people?
Please don’t get me wrong. It’s not about owning them, neither making them servants or slaves. It’s about the things that you can collect from them. It can be their story, beliefs or values. You can refer to their pasts and how it shapes them, or maybe their talents and how they develop them. You can also consider collecting their success and how they achieve them or their failure and what it costs them. You can collect many things about people, and there is something good about becoming a people collector.

Why should you become a people collector?
1. People collectors are empowered
When we got influenced easily, we usually feel weak, confused, and undecided. The attitude of a people collector will actually empower you not to be overwhelmed by all the different values and beliefs you learned. Don’t take the value you learn as something that you have to do; on the other hand, simply take it as a value that you need to collect. Simply put the story, the people, or the values in your stock! It’s something that you can have access to anytime. No hurry!

2. People collectors love socializing

Morocco 2
Creative Commons License photo credit: babasteve

The overwhelmed feeling usually makes us avoiding conversation and social event. Especially, it’s a weakness for introverts who do not enjoy the time they spend with others. They enjoyed silence and reflective time particularly to sort out their thoughts and make their decisions. Social events are too noisy for them to think and it’s too much distraction for them to handle.

Unfortunately, this often made up the reason why people avoid social event. If the problem is there, avoiding is never a good solution. Each of us has to work on getting decisive and feeling secure with our decision instead.

Now, with a mindset of people collector, you will have a better excuse on socializing. It’s no longer the time you need to think about you and your decision. It is also not the time to make you doubtful of the choices you have made. It’s simply the time for you to collect stories. A collector certainly likes collecting; otherwise he/she should not be called as a collector.

3. People collectors love listening
On the other hand, if you are an extrovert, socializing won’t be a problem for you. You might be the dominant one, the influencers in the conversation. You may talk more, but that is not necessarily a proof that you are a people collector. You may forget an important aspect of conversation and that is “listening“! People collectors listen more than they talk.

Listening is not only helping you to gain stories, but also charisma. “People are interested in the person who is interested to them”, that statement summarizes the Charisma Principle that John C. Maxwell shared in his book, Winning with People.

When talking about charisma, it all boils down to this: the person without charisma walks into a group and says, “Here I am.” The person with charisma walks into a group and says, “There you are.” Just about anybody can learn to do that.
~John C. Maxwell (Winning with People)

4. People collectors want their people getting better
Don’t you want to collect on the things that increase in value? Similarly, when you are in the mindset of people collector, you don’t get jealous over the success that others have. You will celebrate with them, happy with them, as if you get more value just because of collecting their stories.

The true test of relationships is not only how loyal we are when friends fail, but how thrilled we are when they succeed.
~John C. Maxwell (Winning with People)

5. People collectors show off their collection
It’s a technique that Leil Lowndes shared in her book, How to Talk to Anyone. One of the 92 techniques she shared is how we can introduce a person to the crowd, make him/her talk comfortably to the crowd, while we can slip off from the conversation.

The technique is called “Encore!” The technique simply stated that you need to remember or pick a story that you know about the person you’re about to introduced. Tell the crowd about the story and let him/her continues the story.

People like to share their story, but good people don’t want to sound that they show off their story. They need you, the “people collector”, to show off their story. So… please help them! They will certainly value and appreciate your help very much!

6. People collectors market themselves with their collection

The initial inspiration of this post actually comes from a video about a famous savant alive in this world right now, Kim Peek. The idea doesn’t come from him; it comes from a person that collected the Kim Peek’s character and made it into an Oscars Award-Winning movie, Rain Man. And he is Barry Morrow.

As a people collector, Barry collected interesting characters he came across in his life. In the same way, he met Kim Peek and inspired by him. It is the inspiration that eventually get his award-winning movie, Rain Man.

If you are a blogger or in other businesses/industries that need lots of creativity, becoming a people collector must be something very important for you. Your own personal story will not be enough and you need to market yourself with the collection of people that you know. So you better start collecting now!

7. People collectors appreciate the unique value of their collection
Collectors like a relatively diverse or wide range of collection; otherwise it will look boring and dull. Similarly, a people collector will be able to appreciate uniqueness in people’s story. Judgment will come later as he has a mindset where you can learn something from anyone. People collector will focus on the good things rather than the flaws. Even more, you are able to take lessons of what not to do from their flaws.

8. People collectors make use of their collection, one at a time

Imagine a shoe collector. She will be very much happy to wear one of her shoes. She may not wear all of them, but some. And one more important point, she will not be able to wear more than one pair at one time.

She may pick one that matches her dress, or she may pick another that matches the event she is going to. Yet she has a purpose in her mind, for a personal image, showing off her “class”, or maybe attracting the man she likes. The important thing is that see need to looks good with her chosen shoe.

Similarly, a people collector doesn’t mean that you are not teachable. It’s teachable, but you simply can’t wear the same role, focus on the same activities at the same time. Clay Collins wrote a thoughtful article on balance and insanity. Inside, he shared the importance of letting the season of life to balance your life.

Your perceived insanity will be greatly amplified if you are being viewed from the eyes of someone who has known you for only one life season. And if you live a life of seasons, you may be perceived as a workaholic, a lazy bum, a socialite, a health nut, etc. during any one period of your life.
~Clay Collins (When Crazy Isn’t Crazy Anymore: Life Balance and Insanity)

Additional resources (added on 28th of June):
While Clay called it as a season of life, Scott H. Young called it as a theme in your life. People collector is about building a theme library, but eventually you need to pick one and working on it. I see that it’s one secret of the success that Scott has achieved in such a young age. You can learn a lot but you need to stick to your theme. If what you learn applies, apply it, if it’s not but you think it’s an important thing, simply collect it.

Concluding thought

The first lesson is to be decisive. Stop getting confused! It’s very important to know that you can’t please everyone. If anyone is able to see you only in one season of life, they will judge you wrongly. Focus on your journey and choose what you want to become today, something that you won’t regret later on.

The second lesson is not to be afraid on making mistakes. If you take into account all the people’s belief and values, you will start judging yourself and finding yourself making mistakes. Those are the fears that made us hold back from our decision. Remember that you may not right all the time, but promise that you will keep on learning, to be something that you won’t regret later in your life.

A related post that may help you stick with your decision: What you have to do with your decision.

Please do share if you have any relevant experience and thoughts on the subject.
And please help me Stumble with the button below to share with others.

Collecting people,
Robert

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24 Comments

  1. Robert,

    Great thinking. I consider myself very people-oriented. I love listening, caring and solving people I surround with. This was a refreshing and awakening somewhat as it relates to me directly.

    Shilpan

  2. Hey Robert! Great hearing from you again. 🙂 Lol. Interesting term used here: “Collecting people”. You are most prolly the first to use that. Hehe

  3. This is a fantastic post full of very good insights and advise. I try to be a people collector like you suggest bloggers do and find it quite useful. Only one type of person puts me off and that is the show off, who is full of himself and who does not have time for anyone else. Otherwise, the world is full of very nice people who can enrich our lives and act as inspiration.

    Nicole Prices last blog post..Home Decor (Part II)

  4. Robert A.

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for the comments! Interestingly it relates for both people that are dominant or less dominant in conversation. Hope that gives another perspective of why we should look for the good in others.
    And Daniel, I’m not the first one using it, Barry Morrow is my inspiration, though the term he is using is “collecting character”.

    Glad you enjoy the article.
    Cheers,
    Robert

  5. Robert A.

    Hi Nicole, thanks for your comment. wouldn’t it be nice if instead people showing off themselves, they are showing off the greatness of other people =) I agree with you, the world will be very nice!
    Robert

  6. I enjoyed your article. I agree, listening is important. People feel special when we show interest in what they have to say!

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..Being Happy for Others Makes You Happy

  7. Thanks Robert I really like your fresh take on these things.

    Evans last blog post..Life can be delightful, Maps can be useful

  8. This was a very insightful post Robert, great reading.

  9. Robert A.

    Bamboo, Evan, & Alex,
    Thanks a lot for your comments!
    Cheers,
    Robert

  10. Hi Robert,

    Another sweet article from you. Great work. Really liked the concept of people collecting, which till date I had never pondered much into. Shall, do that from now. 🙂

    Why don’t you come up with a post on Dream… kind of stuff?

    Shall keep checking you site for the same… Have a great day!!

    Cheers!

    romes last blog post..Why Freelance Writing?

  11. Robert A.

    Hi Rome, thanks a lot! A dream? will think about it.. maybe you can ask for a specific question?
    Thanks for letting me know that you enjoy the article.

    Cheers,
    Robert

  12. I enjoy your tip#1 about people collector being empowered. It’s so nice to be able share some of these stories as life lessons for others too!

    Great post!
    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Maps last blog post..Discover The Law of Attraction In Silence

  13. Hi Robert, this is so unique and so true! I am aware that I’m a “people collector” (gosh I love that term) too but I’d never really thought about it from that deep a perspective. Thanks!

    Irene | Light Beckonss last blog post..Belief And Intuition

  14. Robert A.

    Hi Evelyn & Irene,
    Thanks for the comments, you guys are certainly a “people collector”. Keep up the great works!
    Robert

  15. Hi Robert,

    Your blog is always filled with great new insights! I would not thought of being a people collector until you enlightened me with this post. Way to go Robert!

  16. Robert A.

    Hi Jephthah, thanks a lot for the kind words.
    Appreciate it!
    Robert

  17. Hi Robert,

    While it’s good to be a people collector, it’s good to be aware of what we are collecting too.

    There are people who only collect gossips and bad habits.

    Well, that’s just a piece of my opinion. 🙂

    Raymond Chuas last blog post..Are You Aware of What You Are Wishing For?

  18. Robert A.

    Hi Raymond, thanks a lot for the comment. You pointed an important thought actually. That not everything we need to collect. A collector need to be selective on the quality he is collecting as well.

    Thanks for adding out one more point!
    Robert

  19. Very insightful post Robert! I like your site’s focus of “helping introverts become successful”, it’s a niche that I haven’t seen covered by any other personal development blog (and I’ve visited many of them!). Keep up the great articles.

  20. Robert A.

    Thanks Derek. I’m really thankful for your article on quitting. I’m interested to get the book, that makes me thinking about many things I’m coping with in my life!

    FYI, I’m planning to re-branding my blog in short time. An exercise to include more people/reader, hope that you still keep on reading my blog.

    Cheers,
    Robert

  21. Barry Morrow

    There’s another documentary that might inspire you, Robert. Go to BillSackter.com to learn more about it. It explains the genesis for my interest in the art of “collecting,” which is evolving (I hope) into the higher form of “sharing” as I get older. You’ve met Rain Man, and now I’d like you to get to know Bill, the man who gave me all my tools. By the way, it was a treat to have a friend of mine introduce me to your posts. Good luck building your own collection. I can tell by your wide smile that you have the instinct for it. -Barry Morrow

  22. I like the people collector concept also. Thanks for sharing that with us.

    Marshall – bondChristians last blog post..Why bondChristians Are Interesting

  23. Dawn allen

    Robert,
    Has it ever occurred to you that maybe people don’t want to be collected? I met a girl once who exhibited the exact same traits you described. She would find someone who was different and practically never leave their side and try her hardest to learn everything about them and why they were different. She would get between them and their real friends, and seeing as she was charming and popular. Then she would spot someone who was different in a different way and do exactly the same thing to them. In her mind she had successfully added a new person to her collection and the person she collected would be hurt and confused. People collecting is a very bad idea. You should try to actually form meaningful friendships with those around you.

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