Lee Davy continues his confessions series with a lesson in the art of getting what you want as he tracks down Ram Vaswani for an interview during the World Poker Tour event in Nottingham.
At one time during my 20-years in the rail industry I was in charge of a group of Roster Clerks. Their job was to ensure that each train journey had a driver rostered to move the freight from A to B. There was never enough drivers for all of the jobs, and this presented a problem that needed a solution.
When a Roster Clerk ran out of train drivers the only way they could cover all of the jobs was to ask them to work overtime. The overtime system worked on a volunteer basis. If you didn’t volunteer then you didn’t want to be bothered. The best Roster Clerk’s were the ones who could persuade the drivers to work overtime even when they didn’t want to.
One of my Roster Clerks was an older woman we will call Jane, and she didn’t believe it was her job to ask people to work overtime if they hadn’t volunteered. She believed in the system that was in place to prevent people from being pestered. I wanted my trains to run. She was forced to ring people up and ask them to work overtime against their will. She called this begging. I called it the art of persuasion.
This is my memory of one of her calls.
“Hi this is Julie from work. I’m sorry to bother you at home. I know you haven’t put your name down to work overtime on Saturday, but I was wondering if you could cover a job for me? You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I will totally understand, and I have other people who I can ask. Like I said. You don’t have to work if you really don’t want to. What’s that? You have plans. Ok…thanks…bye.”
That’s what I call the opposite of the art of persuasion.
A fortnight ago I was working at the World Poker Tour (WPT) UK Festival in Dusk till Dawn (DTD), Nottingham. It was a tough field. Some of the very best poker players in Britain turned out to play, including one player whom I have never set eyes on in the four years that I have been doing this job.
I got into poker thanks to TV coverage of the game. The Poker Million, the World Poker Tour, and Late Night Poker were the shows that hooked me. The characters, the money, and the way the whole thing was put together made me want to spend my hard earned cash on the poker table.
One of my favorite players was Ram ‘Crazy Horse’ Vaswani. He was a member of the legendary Hendon Mob. Crazy by name crazy by nature. It didn’t seem to matter what cards Vaswani held, he always seemed to be able to beat the crap out of his opponents. He was aggressive, whilst at the same time appearing classy. I loved watching him play.
When I saw him walking around DTD I felt butterflies in my belly. I was desperate to interview him, but had this feeling that he would be a tough nut to crack. My dealings with the other three members of the Hendon Mob had led me to believe that Vaswani was a private person. For the next three days I watched him ‘hanging around’ and never once plucked up the courage to ask him for an interview.
What was wrong with me?
I have a big ego and I hate it when someone refuses my attempts at verbal seduction. I take it personally. I build this class system up in my mind. I don’t like being looked down upon. I know this way of thinking is nonsense. Some people just prefer to be left alone. It has nothing to do with me, and yet I still let it get the better of me. My inaction is proof of its victory.
There were times when Vaswani was sitting alone. Prime opportunity to just waltz over and ask him without anybody even knowing that he blew me out. And still I didn’t venture towards him.
Then one day I turned to my colleague and said: “Do you think Ram Vaswani is the type of person who will be interviewed. He doesn’t look like he would?”
“Ask him yourself.” Said my colleague.
I looked to my right and Vaswani was sitting on the table opposite me. It’s a good job I didn’t say: “Do you think Ram Vaswani is the type of person who will be interviews. He doesn’t look like he would? He looks like a right ‘orrible bastard.”
He looked back with that what type of look. I was in. Here was my big opportunity.
“Ram…I bet you don’t do interviews do you?” I asked.
What a dickhead!
My mind raced back to the bollocking I had served on the Roster Clerk who had forgotten the art of persuasion. Had I learned nothing? Why had I allowed this ridiculous ego issue to make me act in that way. It was as if leading with the ‘you don’t want to’ type of questioning I was preventing my ego from being bruised.
Later that night I was reading E-Cubed by Pam Grout. If you haven’t read E-Squared and E-Cubed you are really missing out. They are fantastic books that focus on the Law of Attraction and the power to attract anything that you manifest. The book contains 9-experiments and one of them was to ask the universe for something specific to happen to you, and in the next 72-hours it would come true.
“Universe…give me an interview with Ram Vaswani.”
The next day I saw Ram talking to one of my colleagues.
“How well do you know Ram?” I asked her.
“Enough.” She said.
I could tell by their interaction that he loosened up in her company. I had my in. I asked my colleague to approach him for an interview. I wanted her to tell him that it was a dream come true for me, that I was half decent at what I did, and he would enjoy it. I wouldn’t keep him longer than 10-minutes. It worked.
“Just don’t ask me any boring questions.” Said Vaswani.
At the end of my interview he shook my hand and told me that he really enjoyed it.
“You are now on my interview list,” he told me, “You can interview me anytime you like.”
It made my day.
The only thing that stops you from reaching your achievements is you. There are a myriad of ways that this manifests itself. In my case it was ego masquerading as a lousy attempt to request an interview. It created a lie. I could tell myself that I asked him, and he refused. That way it wasn’t my fault. My ego was preserved.
Don’t make the same mistake I made. Learn from my outcome. Believe that anything is possible. Think outside of the box and wonder how you are going to make it happen, not if you can make it happen.
Now go to work. Go and find your own Crazy Horse. You can tame him. You really can.