Check the Couch! Its Our Only Hope!

entrepreneurship humor influence korea marketing storytelling May 23, 2024

Living in South Korea as a missionary in my early 20’s was a lot of things, but glamorous wasn’t one of them.

For example, we lived on a pretty tight budget and each month had to stretch our cash further than we knew possible.

But the one thing we couldn’t scrimp on? Rice. And I don’t know if you ever noticed, but short grain rice is pricey! Specifically, every few weeks we needed to get one of the massive economy sized bags that would give us the calories necessary to pound the pavement for 10+ hours a day.

But for some reason, one month we completely ran out of rice with 8 days to go. Where would we find the money to buy more?

We started by checking all of our pockets and bags for loose change. That gave us a good start, but not enough. Our desks and drawers came next, and I even remember reaching so far back into our closet, I could have sworn the coin said, “Made in Narnia”. Then we found the odd jar that accumulates buttons, paperclips, and lonely Lego action figures which stare into your soul and make you feel guilty that their leg is lost.

I bet you’ve just asked yourself… “Where is that jar in our house?”

Photo: OK, there weren’t THAT many Lego heads…

Sure enough, we found a couple bucks there, but as we scoured our apartment for every last “won” (the currency in South Korea) we were running out of places to look, and weren’t sure what to do.

Then, with a stroke of inspiration, I looked at the tired looking piece of furniture in the corner of our room. “CHECK THE COUCH, ITS OUR ONLY HOPE!” As every person who has cleaned their couch knows, there, crammed beneath the worn cushions, we found the Fort Knox of lost coins.

And the Lego leg!

Thrilled with our discovery, we counted up everything and to our joy found we had just enough to buy the rice we needed. I later called it, “The Miracle of the Rice Bag”. (Gold star for Captain Creative over here).

What does this have to do with influence?

Part of the thrill of this moment was discovering that WE HAD the solution to our problem all along… but we just didn’t know how (or where) to find it. Many times when people reach out to us/our business for help, its because they feel stuck and not sure what to do. They need rice… but can’t get it.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt stuck many times and feeling powerless is a pretty crappy experience. And what’s worse, this feeling of pain can seep into the narratives we tell ourselves and create a whole other set of issues with our mental health.

So what if you -as a person of value and influence- changed that? What if you helped someone realize THEY WERE smart enough, good enough, and wise enough all along, but were so close to the problem, they couldn’t see it within themselves?

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once said, “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.” I believe most people are driven forward in our shared dreams of becoming better: A better person, partner, parent, and even steward over the opportunities and gifts God may have given us to grow and develop.

But sometimes we encounter situations where we feel stuck and powerless, and that dream of being who we hoped we would be… seems beyond our grasp all of a sudden. And so we “remember the future, particularly the one you’ll never have” and it feels pretty awful. But if Søren Kirkegaard (Btw do you realize how hard it is to find the “Ø” character on my non-Scandinavian computer keyboard? I better call IKEA…) if Søren Kirkegaard is correct then the opposite of his statement is true:

“The most exciting state of being is envisioning the future, particularly one you didn’t have yesterday.” — Christian Hansen

One day, we didn’t have the rice. We couldn’t see a way out and were nervous. But the next day when we discovered the coins (that we had all along… but had no idea) we were ecstatic. We had a new future we didn’t think was immediately possible.

When a client meets you, and its obvious they are stuck or feeling down, what if you said:

· “I think your instincts are right on this.”

· “I can tell this has been hard, but you’ve made some really smart choices to get here. Let me tell you why.”

· “Calling me was absolutely the right thing to do- because its unreasonable to expect to carry this load all by yourself. Any normal person would also be struggling…and here’s how we are going to resolve this together.”

If you say these things, you would be contradicting their negative self-talk, and reinforcing their positive core narrative that they like to tell themselves: “I am someone who is intelligent, becoming better, and striving to be the best I can.”

That would give them a new future they didn’t believe they had when they first called you or walked in your door.

And using language to positively sculpt and build the people around you? That’s WAY better than finding free money in your couch.

I have a favor to ask: Do you know anyone who would benefit from these weekly Influence Insights? I’m on a mission to help people communicate their value, rise above the noise, and increase their impact for good. If you wouldn’t mind sharing this email to someone (or posting the below link) and telling how its benefitted you, I would appreciate it.

Just like the Lego guy who was reunited with his leg.


(Shareable link here)

CHRISTIAN HANSEN has gone behind the scenes in some of the biggest organizations in the world to find out the reasons why some people get chosen and why others don’t. As the #1 bestselling and LinkedIn Top Ten ranked author of “The Influence Mindset: The Art & Science of Getting People to Choose You” Christian helps teams and organizations who want increase their earning potential by standing out from the crowd and influencing people to choose them. With degrees from Brigham Young University and The London School of Economics, he’s helped thousands of individuals position and sell themselves. A fan of international communication, history, and choral music, he currently lives in Utah with his wife. Reach him at:

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