The key to any successful endeavor is being interested. Interest is a very, very valuable tool. And it is one of the most valuable resources an administrator has. In order to find out what is valuable, you’re going to have to be interested. A professional is interested.
“A person is interested, and an object is interesting. A person is not interesting. He is interested. And when a person becomes terribly interesting he has lots of problems. That is the chasm that is crossed by all of your celebrities, anybody who is foolish enough to become famous. He crosses over from being interested in life to being interesting, and people who are interesting are really no longer interested in life.”1
Frank Sinatra made you feel like he was singing to you. He was interested in the audience. And he got, in return, admiration—applause. They gave him that because of his interest, preparation, and, of course, his talent.
Many years ago I was interviewed by a magazine reporter in Washington, D.C., with a reputation for being pretty antagonistic in his interviews. Starting off the interview, he said, “Well, Mr. Maren, let me ask you a few questions.” I answered his questions and then I asked him a few questions. He didn’t really want to answer much. “Well, no. I ask the questions,” he said. We talked a little more and then I asked him another question. The question I asked was a really interesting one to him regarding how and why he had started his career as a journalist. He started talking. And I asked him a few more questions. Finally we ended off and he got up from his chair and said, “Mr. Maren, this was one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve ever had. Thank you very much.” I hardly talked about me, it was all about him. And he wrote an excellent article.
If anyone is being interesting, they’re really saying, “Give me, give me. Give me your admiration, give me attention.” But if you are truly interested, then you’re observing. You’re admiring. You are giving attention, and attention is tremendously coveted.
1 “Interest” (definition), Hubbard, Technical Dictionary.