Maxim #3-- Accept Every Invitation
Originally, Maxim #3 saw life as a New Year’s Resolution crafted in response to a sense that I was missing opportunities by being too negative and turning too many experiences down.
So I resolved to accept more invitations in the coming year. How many? Ten? Twenty? Hell, why not take the hesitation out of it altogether and just accept every invitation?
Resolutions work best when they work big.
If you’re like most people, your reaction is likely to be, “Impossible. I get dozens or hundreds of invitations every day. I can’t accept them all!”
My response is that you might get dozens or hundreds of offers, requests, solicitations, proposals, or propositions every day. Invitations, not so much. In fact invitations are quite rare.
An invitation is a request from a host to get another person to become a guest. In most cases we are talking about a social event.
Maxim # 3 addresses itself only to true invitations. It is silent on offers, requests, and solicitations.
How Can you Tell if You’re Dealing with an Invitation?
An invitation creates two roles: that of the host and that of the guest. The role of the host is to see to the needs and well-being of the guest. The financial costs, if any, are assumed by the host.
Whenever you receive something that appears to be an invitation, determine if there’s someone taking on the responsibilities of a host.
Simply put, if there isn’t a host, it’s not an invitation.
It can be confusing. Offers and requests often appear in the guise of an invitation.
Don’t be confused. If there’s a purchase, fee, or cost involved and you’re expected to pay it, it’s an offer or request.
Equipment For Living
Maxim #3 is on this list because it helps enlarge my life; it’s an example of what the critic Kenneth Burke calls “equipment for living.”
When I accept every invitation, the world becomes larger, more varied, more interesting. In the year when I actively worked on the resolution to accept every invitation, I found myself enjoying many new and wonderful experiences that in earlier years I would have rejected, debated, or dithered away.
Yes, I found myself in some unfamiliar situations. I learned a lot. For example, an acquaintance invited me to attend a church service. It was a true invitation with the acquaintance taking on real host duties. So I said yes and met a lot of nice people and learned a few things about a community I came to respect. That’s a win in my book.
The resolution created such a boost in my life that I decided to make it permanent and enshrine it as one of my 15 Maxims for living an authentic life.
Try it for a while. See if it doesn't enlarge your life, too. In the meantime, if I don’t have a previous commitment and you issue me an invitation in which you take on the all the duties of the host, you can expect me to show up as the guest.