Intro written by Desiree Avila, Editor of Living in Oakland Park.
Alex Passakos, a child of Greek immigrants and Buffalo, NY native, has made a life for himself in clubs and bars for the past three decades. He has several foods named after him and most recently he launched his very own beer, Holy Passakos. Recently, Naughty Natalia, interviewed Alex for the Mastermind of a DJ podcast in which he talked about his life and all that being the King of Nightlife in Fort Lauderdale has taught him.
To say that Alex has an interesting life and lots of wisdom to share would be an understatement. In this article, written by Alex himself, he gives us a piece of his mind and his wisdom to share some insight about how to live a better life.
Is It Enough to Just Stay Humble?
I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Naughty Natalia for the Master Mind of a DJ Podcast, and one of the questions she asked me was, “What advice would you give to anyone listening to this?”.
My answer was simple, and it’s how I try to live my every day life: “Stay humble”. It’s a great attitude to have and I can’t recommend it enough to everyone. That lifestyle will open way more doors for you than any level of conceit will.
But that question got me thinking. Is it really enough to just stay humble? I couldn’t help but think that there was something missing, and then I realized what it was. That something was empathy.
'Don’t Judge a Person Until You’ve Walked a Mile in Their Shoes'
For anyone that’s not familiar with the word, according to Merriam-Webster, the definition of empathy is:
To make it simple, it’s basically the old saying, ‘Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’.
This isn’t a new expression or feeling. In the 5th century B.C. Plato was quoted as saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. In order to understand what I mean, let me share with you a real life example that, unfortunately, made me understand how important empathy is.
I had an acquaintance a few years ago that had texted me looking for work. I told him I didn’t know of anything and left it at that. I never followed up to see how he was doing or if he was able to find a job. Life just got in the way, like it usually does and I just forgot. A few weeks later I found out that he had taken his own life. I can’t help but wonder if I had taken the 10 seconds out to just check in on him, would that have made enough difference to where he would still be here today?
We don’t realize it, but our everyday actions and words absolutely affect other people’s lives.
A Change of Heart
I quote Dr. Maya Angelou all the time, and one of my favorites of hers is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. I’ve been great at applying that to my business life, but not enough in my personal life.
Every one of us is, to varying degrees, egocentric, but in reality we are all just background actors in everyone else’s lives that we interact with on a daily basis.
For the last few months I’ve been consciously trying to improve on who I am. I have tried to be more understanding with people when I’m annoyed. I ask myself what lead this person up to the point that they said or did a certain thing in the hopes that I can better understand why they did. Maybe they’re not the jerk in this scenario, maybe I just need to see things from their perspective.
I have also removed hurtful words from my vocabulary. I’ve realized that even if they’re not said in a hateful context that certain words are better left unused even in casual conversations. There is no place for certain derogatory slurs, like the N-word, or the F-word.
Wisdom Inspired by Life Experience
I don’t want this post to be a bunch of quotes, but the old expression “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”, just isn’t true. We all have had our feelings hurt before by something someone has said.
While the interview with Natalia got me thinking, what truly inspired me to write this article was an anecdote that Dave Chappelle shared about his friend, Daphne Dorman, in his new comedy special ‘The Closer’.
Daphne was a transgender comedian that Dave met at his shows, that he eventually had open for him when he was in town. During one exchange, Dave told Daphne that he didn’t understand her and she replied with, “I don’t need you to understand me, I just need you to believe that I’m having a human experience!”.
And I just sat on my couch and said wow. So simple, yet so profound. After I heard that, this article practically wrote itself. She successfully conveyed in under 20 words what the true definition of empathy is.
Just Be a Good Person
We are all having a human experience and we should be considerate of that fact when we interact with each other.
Smile more. Say please and thank you. Be courteous. Basically just be a good person. If we all did that the world would be a better place for all of us.
I truly love and appreciate you all, and I’m here for you if anyone needs anything (besides money).