Paul Manafort’s 7 Keys to a More Deliberate Life
Sorry, folks. Exhale.
Now, I’d like everyone to imagine for a moment that you’re leaving on a trip. Could be anywhere. Paris. London. Kiev. You can only bring one suitcase on this trip. What do you pack in that suitcase? Let’s say you have only four hours to get ready before you hop on that plane, and you know that you might never be coming back. Miss, what would you take with you? A toothbrush. Okay, smart. But you can most likely get a toothbrush from Dimitri’s shop around the corner from the safe house. I’m looking for something creative. Something personal or irreplaceable. What do you think?
Okay, Frank, but I was just posing a hypothetical for the audience. No, I read the court order. Who do you think I am?
I’ve brought a suitcase here today—just a prop, Frank, calm down. Now, let’s see what I’ve packed for my trip. I’ve got a picture of my daughter. Lovely girl. My lucky pocket watch. My father gave me that. Eight different passports. Remember, we’re discovering who we are.
A question? Sure, miss. Uh huh. And what hidden pocket are you referring to? I don’t—oh, that pocket. Sure. Oh, I see. No, we have a bunch of currencies in there. Well, I see some Qatari riyals, yes, but—some Azerbaijani rinats as well? Well, we never know where we’re going on this trip called “our lives.” Remember, money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy experiences. And sometimes, silence.
Let’s do another scenario, shall we? If you’ve come here today to this, um, medium-security facility, you probably struggle being assertive with your own wants and needs. Now, does that sound accurate? Nod your heads if I’m right. I thought so.
Let’s say you want to ask your boss for a raise. It’s been four months, and he’s about to cut you loose and tell the media nobody in his organization even listened to you or took your advice. You’re afraid to speak your truth. You’re probably angry. You feel betrayed, even. If you’re having trouble asking for what you need, you might feel like you’ve lost your inner fire. Clench. Light that fire. Let that righteous anger burn until it ignites. Let it shine as a personal testament that no one will ever, ever betray you again. You are strong; you are perseverant; you are determined. The road of history is lined with the heads of those who underestimated the power of determined men like you and me. Kennedy. King. Lennon.
Jesus, this ankle bracelet goes off whenever I move around. Frank?
We’ve talked a lot today about the importance of trusting in yourself. But no man is an island. All of us, if we look for them, have friends we can count on. Friends who might owe us a great many favors. We can’t be afraid to reach out to those friends when we have a challenge that’s too big for us to handle on our own, like advice on a relationship road bump, a helping hand on a crafts project, or know-how about tax laws in the Seychelles.
If you’d humor me now for a minute, I’d like to bring down the lights. We’re going to do a little trust exercise. Frank, can you get the lights back there? Just for a minute. Darker, please. Now, if everyone would put their right hand on the shoulder of the person to their left. It’s only in darkness that we begin to free ourselves. Don’t mind me. I’m just circulating. Checking in with each of you as individuals. That’s another lesson in the seminar.
If you’d each please lean in close to that person to your left. No, that was just my suitcase. Just tidying up a bit here while we all trust each other. Now whisper into that person’s ear—Frank, would you go up to the front of the room and keep an eye on that team’s balance? I’ll just stand back here and observe our warriors.
Well, it doesn’t say anything in the court order about where in the room we each stand, Frank. Thanks.
Okay, now, everyone. Keeping your eyes closed, lean in and whisper in your partner’s ear something you ne—come on—you would never—goddamn door—you’ve never told anyone el—В руки насрать, и воду отключить! Got it! See you in hell, cucks!
Ah! Hey fellas! Just demonstrating how closed doors can open with a little mindfulness. And the suitcase, too, yeah, all part of the demonstration. The suitcase is evidence now? Evidence of—oh.
Do I still get credit for the full hour?
Michael Bleicher and Andy Newton are above-average in height and know the harmony parts to most Simon & Garfunkel songs. Andy is an editor in New York City and Michael is a copyright attorney in Washington, D.C.