The mastery of service


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Handout for the Pioneers of Mixology Roadshow, March, 2011

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The mastery of service

  1. 1. The Institute for Mindful Bartending presentsThe Mastery of Service A Teaching about right actionPresented by:Aisha SharpeContemporary Cocktails Inc.Dushan ZaricEmployees Only & Macao Trading Co.
  2. 2. “Hospitality is the foundation of my business philosophy. Virtually nothing else is as important as how one is made to feel in any business transaction.Hospitality exists when you believe the other person ison your side. The Converse is just as true. Hospitalityis present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you. Those two simple prepositions-for and to-express it all.” Danny Meyer – Setting the Table
  3. 3. As we can see from the above diagram, a fully developed bartender is a union of threeequally developed parts. What these three parts have in common is Confidence.Confidence is essential as it provides you with guidance. This union is consciouslyconstructed and is a constant evolving unit within each bartender’s personality. Withevery experience, certain aspects of the three parts will grow and evolve. As theunderstanding grows, so will the output, performance, and of course - confidence. It isimportant to emphasize the fact that such development is only possible when one hasrealized the need for developing a working character through conscious effort,objective evaluation and self-observation.
  4. 4. The MixologistThe Mixologist is the first step in that direction and the easiest part to develop. Youwill become the “walking drink encyclopedia,” a part of your working character thatdisplays the craftsmanship and the art of mixing and serving drinks. It is veryimportant that you build your theoretical knowledge about the products you serve andwork with. The more you know – the more you will be able to give to others andenhance their experience at your bar.Remember, you have behind you a full arsenal of liquid ingredients and they all have astory. Not only do they individually have a story but combinations of them (cocktails)also have a story. The Mixologist uses these elements to create an experience forhis/hers customers and guests.It is important to recall at this point the fact that people do not go out simply becausethey want to consume extra quality concoctions from a bar or restaurant. Impeccableproducts and great service on the part of the Bartender, however, will give them aninternal alibi so as not to see what is it they are really after – the Possibility thatsomething will happen to them. It seems to be an addiction with people - this hunt forthe Possibility and our job is to encourage it. We are, after all, dealing dreams.The SageThe Sage or the Wise Man is the part of your working character that keeps youremembering your intention. This part is the one that observes objectively everythingthat is going on 3 feet away from you. Work on The Sage aspect will give you theability to speak when needed without expressing an opinion, to listen to the customerswith a genuine interest or at least make a serious effort to do so, to distance-detachyourself emotionally from nightly experiences which will give you the understandingand awareness of other peoples existence – both physically and emotionally.The Sage will not judge the people around him, he/she will understand, forgive andtolerate. In other words, the job of that part of ourselves that is the sage is to remind usto judge actions and not people. At the end of the night The Sage takes a big spongeand erases the blackboard. There is nothing worth holding on to - so The Sage knowsand gains from such understanding.The most important thing to remember when working on The Sage is to always: “Pay attention to the intention!”This mantra, if you will, is very significant for The Sage because it keeps his/her focuson the real reasons why one is performing a particular effort. The primary duty of TheBartender is to fill the register and the tip bucket. And making sure that TheBartender does this is the job of The Sage.
  5. 5. The Rock StarRemember that really bad movie “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise? Well, this characterwho flips bottles, flirts with women and high-fives with men, raises the atmosphereand is the MC of the Bar, is the third and equally important part of a fully developedBartender. It is the picture of him that the Bartender wants his customers to see. Bigsmile, generous and caring. Sexy, daring and provocative. And confident, so confident.The Rock Star appears to party more then anyone, has a better time then all of his/hercustomers and still goes on long after they are gone home to cure a hangover. Buildingthis aspect is a little tricky and dangerous since it can lure you into a trap. If youidentify too much with it you will start believing that the Possibility does not apply toyou or you will become the Possibility yourself. As a rule The Rock Star is employedas a Possibility salesman and if skilled enough he/she will sell it to the Devil himself.Remember though that this is all an act. It is not you – you are just acting “as if.” Donot identify with this aspect and you will have a great time. Remember the boundariesand keep them clear in your head. Every time you decide to intentionally act, create aplan about where you want to go and how you will go about getting there. If youdecide to cut someone off, for instance, then do it and do not re-think your decision.Especially not if you already told the person in question.If a man appears to be bothering a girl or girls at your bar, try to ascertain whether ornot the girls would like you to interfere or not, and if you believe that they would likesome help, then act smartly. Call him to the side and explain to him that the girls arenot comfortable with his advances and ask him to understand. If you do it right – hewill step back and refrain from further advances.Likewise, if you are buying someone a drink, make sure you tell them that at theappropriate moment—not too early and certainly not too late. (Dushan: I think youneed to explain this further)The Rock Star aspect of being a bartender is so important since not only will yourcustomers come back for the experience but also your employer will recognize andcherish such an act and will be very grateful for this.
  6. 6. Contentment:–noun1. the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.2. Archaic . the act of making contentedly satisfied.— adj1. mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are2. assenting to or willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course ofaction, etc
  7. 7. “…people don’t go to bars, people go to see the Bartender!” Dale DeGroff Terror of the situationWe are, in sum, imprisoned by our own untrained instincts (the mental afflictions), byour attachment and clinging, and by our ignorance both of what’s good for us and ofthe nature of reality. And we want to be free from these self-imposed fetters in order tobe happy.Freedom from attachment is really just another form of freedom from ignorance, theroot of all other mental afflictions. We are ignorant, among other things, of what’sreally in our own self-interest: of what to "give up and take up”. Boosting your focusMaster Kazuo Uyeda, Cocktail Techniques, pg 16-17When I talk about focus I often use the phrase apply your mind. “You are not applyingyour mind to your work” or “your work lacks focus” are the kinds of things you mighthear from a boss. The same is true of focusing in sports, for example. Focusing thepowers of your mind is an important ability.Of all the different cocktail techniques out there, I often hear people complain thatthey don’t know how to make stirred cocktails taste better. My belief is that it dependson whether you’re applying your mind to it. The resulting flavor of a drink hinges onthe degree to which you apply yourself to making a good cocktail and how intenselyyou can focus your mind on that one goal. Someone who lacks that feeling won’t makea good cocktail, no matter how perfectly he or she mixes it. Therefore, your ability tonurture this kind of focus is an important factor of making good cocktails.So, what does it mean to apply your mind? Well, it varies from person to person, butthere is something universal in the way that you put your heart into making a cocktailfor a guest you like (or for someone you love). Something special happens in thatsituation, and the result is special, too. Why does this happen? It happens becausethere was something different about your state of mind. This is what you have torecreate, but you have to experience it at least once in order to recreate that state ofmind. So the questions are: what situations allow you to achieve that feeling, and canyou take the opportunity when it presents itself? If you don’t let that opportunity pass
  8. 8. you by, then you’ll make a good cocktail; and once you’ve done that, all you have to dois recreate that feeling.I’m sure you’ve had the experience of finding yourself focusing your mind very intentlyin an unconscious way on a particular job. Being able to recognize the differencebetween a good cocktail and a very good cocktail is the same as the ability to be awarethat you are intently focusing your mind. If you can feel energy running up and downyour spine, and you can repeat the experience, then you’ll be able to boost your abilityto apply your mind to your work.Unfortunately, if you can’t feel that you are applying yourself, then you won’t be ableto maintain that image. You’ll have lots of opportunities to feel this in the course ofyour career, but only as long as you stay open and aware. You have to make an effortto maintain an awareness of that feeling. Your success will depend on how far you cantake that.When I’m mixing cocktails behind the counter, I always stay aware of who’s drinkingwhat. Mixing a cocktail without knowing who’s going to drink it is the epitome of notapplying your mind. You can only apply your mind to your work if you know who’sgoing to drink the cocktail you’re making. Being aware of the purpose of what you’redoing – and also feeling that purpose – will translate into improved cocktail makingskills.The first step is to make an effort to feel this when making one or two of the, say fiftycocktails you make in one day. You can mix a million cocktails over the course of yourlife, but if you don’t apply your mind in this way, you’ll never improve. This isfundamental for nurturing your focus.“Understanding the distinction between service and hospitality has been at thefoundation of our success. Service is the technical delivery of a product.Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel. Service is amonologue-we decide how we want to do things and set our own standards forservice. Hospitality, on the other hand is a dialogue. To be on a guest’s siderequires listening to that person with every sense, and following up with athoughtful, gracious, appropriate response. It takes both great service and greathospitality to rise to the top.”Danny Meyer – Setting the Table
  9. 9. Developing the “Working” PersonalityLet us start with a very simple observation that every one of us is composed of amultitude of different characters that form our personality. These characters are whatare described in psychology as a result of numerous repetitive external influences,conditioning (upbringing) on the part of the society and family and finally one’saccumulated experiences. Every moment of our lives one of those characters takes thecenter stage and dominates the show. So it happens that one moment we are happy,and the other one we are sad, one moment we are angry and the other peaceful. Weare never one and the same. And to add more confusion to this mixture of noise,illusion and disorder we call this multitude of characters “I”. Me as I think I am Me as I really am I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I INone of us has a true “I” that is permanent, unitary, immutable, eternal, ineffable, etc.Indeed; none of us has a true and authentic Unity of Being. We all think that we dobut it is not so. Unfortunately, we do not even possess a legitimate individuality. Theillusion of our existence is due to an element that is “imported” and created from birthonwards and which we call our personality.If we think of each “I” as a different person, we can then emphatically state thefollowing, “Many people exist within each person living in the world.”Unquestionably, many different persons live inside each one of us, some of them arebetter than others, and others are worse...Each one of these “I”s, each one of thesepersons, struggles for supremacy.As often as possible, each one of these “I”s wants to be exclusive. Each one wants to
  10. 10. control the whole of us, our thoughts, our feelings and our movements until anothersubstitutes it...The result of such state is that we are ignorant in how we really function. Everythinghappens to us as a result of us being unconscious of ourselves and believing that we arealways one and the same.Unfortunately this happens entirely automatically and we -as we are- have absolutelyno control over it. When we are told about this, we are actually quite surprised since itis so obvious that it is so but we haven’t thought about it earlier.It is very easy to experimentally prove this condition to our critical mind that strugglesto comprehend the inner and outer world. Give yourself a simple task. Such as: For aperiod of 14 days, at exactly the same time of the day, perform a simple action of yourchoice for a certain but short amount of time. The action should be something simplelike reading the news every morning for 15 minutes, or writing in your diary for 10minutes, or taking a walk for 20 minutes. The point is that it has to be simple,preferably enjoyable, it has to be done every day for the duration of the aim and it hasto last for the exact, predetermined time – not a minute shorter or longer. You will bevery surprised when you realize how difficult it is to actually do this experimentsuccessfully. It is very hard and the reason is that since we are never one and the same“I” – the “I” that is currently taking the pedestal will not remember or even know whatthe other “I” has promised. Remember how many times did you go to bed at night“determined” that from the next morning you will do things differently and howsurprised you were when you realized in the morning that you forgot all about it.What one “I” promises will not always be completed by the whole of us. This simplyimplies that it is very hard to do what one said he/she will do.Another good example is to remember that every morning when we wake up, we aredifferent. Some mornings we are full of energy and enthusiasm and others we aremellow, slow and melancholic. The common idea of getting up “on the wrong side ofthe bed” is a simple way of saying that this morning I woke up under the leadership ofa negative personality.What does this observation have to do with working behind the bar and servingpeople? The answer is like in rest of our life – everything! You really want to payattention and to be as aware, present and conscious as possible when you arebombarded with so many stimuli and automatic reactions on a night behind the bar.Every reaction by you is a result of a certain action that provoked it. For example,somebody tells you – You look really nice today – and without being conscious abouttheir observation – you smile. Like a software program when given a command – yourespond with a predetermined answer.Or someone orders a Vodka-Cranberry at your über-hip new cocktail bar and youbegin to internally think of that person of being a fool. Automatically, without even amoment of thought, you start bashing this person. Because somewhere, deep inside of
  11. 11. you, there is a you, a vain and stupid you, that has something to say to this person.Sometimes you cannot even constrain yourself and you begin lecturing them out loud.This lack of control of our personality is what we call – Terror of the Situation!Many things inside of you will lie and prevent you from seeing this for a while. But ifyou begin to struggle against negative emotions then you’ll face them very soon. Thiseffort is very important. There needs to be a desire to change things before anythingcan be done. As long as one is happy or content with the way one is – nothing can orshould be done. But if a person realizes that the life they are living is like a greatsymphony played in mono – then there is a chance that they might do something aboutit.The Terror of the Situation or the helpless sleeping existence is a result of a permanentstate in our personality, which we call the “waking state”. A man spends roughly athird of his life sleeping. The rest of one’s life is spent in the “waking state” in which welearn, work, enjoy ourselves, are physically active, get married, etc. Regrettably even ifwe think we are awake and conscious we are actually acting very mechanical and haveabsolutely no control about what will and is happening to us. This is the last placeyou’d want to be when you are working behind the bar. Just remember the nightswhen you worked so hard and at the end of the night were physically tired but werealso in good spirits and appeared not to have lost a lot of energy. Remember also thenights when at the end you weren’t only physically tired and exhausted but alsoemotionally drained and “heavy.”The difference in those two experiences is in maintaining force and remembering onesintention. In the first example the force and energy was somehow maintained and youdidn’t identify emotionally with all that was going on that particular night. In the otherexample – you did identify emotionally with everything and therefore got upset, or gotexited, or got insulted, or got praised, or not praised, or liked, or not liked, you gotbored, etc. In other words – you got personally involved. Now be careful whenthinking about this – getting identified emotionally has nothing to do with beingsincere, real or honest. It has on the other hand everything to do with you merelyreacting to the outside stimuli.How do we change this? It is very important to realize that there is an opportunity tocreate a “working character” within our personality who takes charge of us when westep behind the bar and are professionally engaged.Many times you hear people say – “I’m a stockbroker, or doctor, or baker or waiter”.People identify with what they do. But this is not who they are – merely what they do.It should not be who they are. So let’s remember that we are this one unit who is aliveand who in order to do his/her job better, a job of giving oneself and serving others,has to consciously develop a new “I” – an “I” who will be your working personality.This is by no means an easy task and it will take a while until you begin to notice theappearance of the working personality within you. But once you begin working on itand training it, slowly but surely it will grow and help you to do your job better.
  12. 12. First Step Stop expressing negative emotions!Which are, to list a few:Fear, Ill Will, Jealousy, Pride, Vanity, Aggravation, Irritation, Agitation, Annoyance,Grouchiness, Grumpiness, Exasperation, Frustration, Anger, Rage, Fury, Wrath,Hostility, Ferocity, Bitterness, Hate, Scorn, Spite, Vengefulness, Dislike, Resentment,Disgust, Revulsion, Contempt, Loathing, Envy, Torment, Self-pity, Depression,Despair, Hopelessness, Gloom, Glumness, Sadness, Unhappiness, Grief, Sorrow,Woe, Misery, Melancholy, Dismay, Disappointment, Displeasure, Unconscious Guilt,Unconscious shame, Unconscious regret, Unconscious remorse, Alienation, Isolation,Neglect, Loneliness, Rejection, Homesickness, Defeat, Dejection, Insecurity,Embarrassment, Humiliation, Insult, Hysteria, Worry, … Expressing Negative Emotions: Complaining, Complaining, Complaining, Being Angry, Being Angry, Being Angry, Being Ironic, Gossiping, Hypocrisy, Being Vain, Belittling others, Praising yourself (false personality) out of attachment to gain or honor, Criticizing others behind their back, Drama, Anxiety, Nervousness, Tenseness, Uneasiness, Apprehension, Distress, …etcHow do we stop expressing negative emotions? There is only one healthy way – yousee them as they are about to burst out in real time and you apply antidotes. Then theyare not suppressed or repressed (whatever that means) but they are dissolved. In thisprocess Force is gained and energy is created as opposed to the scenario when weexpress the negativity. Once negativity is expressed it has taken force from us but alsofrom others that we unload this emotion on. This is essentially a violent act and thisrealization might help you to remember that you are doing this for the benefit ofothers. Now this is much easier said then done but it is possible and you will have theopportunity to make yourself into a much happier person.Now if all of the above sounds too complicated and too confusing, but you areintrigued and want to change things about yourself, just stop complaining! If you cando this, you will see that everything else falls into place as well. First stop complainingoutwardly, stop unloading onto others what you think is wrong with the world. Youwill still inwardly continue to rape yourself but at least others will be saved from it.Then slowly, with practice, it will become clear to you that you cannot change thepresent. It is what it is! The past you cannot change as well. It’s gone. So, can you
  13. 13. change the future? Well, yes actually by changing the way you perceive the present.By acting differently today you will invite a different tomorrow. So, relax into what isand give yourself and others a break. Stop talking to yourself or at least stop payingattention to it.What to remember when you notice that you are not mindful?The Idea of ImpermanenceMany modern psychologists and esoteric teachers agree that the biggest trap we fallinto is to mistake changing things for unchanging things. They call it the “GreatMistake”, by which our minds delude us and distort reality. Ordinarily we know –everything that is born – will die, everything that is produced will disintegrate, dayswill turn into nights, nights into days, and so on. Everything, and we mean everythinghas on itself an expiration date. And thank God it is so…imagine a night behind thebar that never ends?How do we make this “Great Mistake” when working behind the bar? What makes usforget that our shift (which is a changing thing – meaning it lasts a certain number ofhours) will last forever and we’ll never get out of the weeds we got ourselves in? Payattention as well how one gets into this state of mind at the first place because one isonly and always preoccupied with oneself and never with others.Fortunately, here is something you can recall when your mind starts panicking aboutwhatever scenario is played in your head. Every shift ends at some point. Every shiftends. That is certain…relax, take a deep breath and remember why you are here. Thisis your bar, these people are your team mates and your customers. Help them by beingas mindful as possible.Remember that self-pity and self-importance are a source of stress and stop doing thisto your self. Self-pity and self-importance are signs that you are still nowhere close todeveloping your working character and that you are taking everything that happens toyou very personally. As discussed before, engage the Sage aspect and detach…practice“non-doing” which means, do not react with speech and body movements to any crazyidea or thought that comes to your mind. Allow yourself some space, some time beforeyou react and you will notice very soon how the impulse to react to whatever it wasbefore has weakened or even disappeared. Thank God you haven’t said anythingthen…The idea of the Lineage
  14. 14. People such as Jerry Thomas and Harry Johnson passed the bartender’s torch to thelikes of Ada Coleman and Harry Craddock, and then came people such as SalvatoreCalabrese, Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan, Audrey Saunders, Sasha Petraske, WayneCollins, and Julie Reiner. Now you hold that torch, and it’s good if you rememberthat people have been passing the craft of bartending over countless years from MasterBartender to Apprentice. Today you are what we call the “Lineage Holder”. You haveto remember at this point what people did and to what lengths they went to keep thiscraft alive, enrich it with their own experience and pass it on down to you. Many,many lives have been invested in this linage. So please treat this with the respect itdeserves. Mainly – you need to pass it on as it was given to you, unspoiled and at bestenriched with your own understanding and experience. You are an example to yourapprentices – they look at you for example. So lead them with the idea in mind thatyou all belong to an authentic lineage. Serve your teachers by being the best, mostmindful professional there is. This is how you will best repay them for what they didfor you.AntidotesAntidotes are a powerful way of real time practice of mindfulness and awareness.Basically, their job is to serve as missiles that will neutralize negative emotions andmental afflictions.Example: A couple sits down at the bar. Asks for menus. After a brief study theybegin to ask questions. You oblige. They continue, unable to make up their mind. Theystall you. The rest of the bar needs your attention and you are feeling pulled. Youcheck on them, they are still not ready to order so you move on to other customers.When you return 3 minutes later you finally take their order and make their drinks.Now she calls you over and complains about the drink, it’s not how the menu reads,she doesn’t like it, it’s your fault, blah, blah, blah…You feel accused and feel your buttons being pushed. Internally you hear yourselfbeginning to pass judgment on her. And not only her, but him as well. At this pointyou are not even listening to her, you are listening to a part of you that feels attackedand wants revenge. You are falling into a negative state of irritation and aggravation.It is exactly at this point when you should apply the antidote. In this case, you considerthis person outwardly and say to yourself, I have no idea who this is, she might be aperson with tons of problems, maybe she suffers with an illness or a loved one just diedon her, maybe her daughter won’t speak to her. You choose to remember that thereality you saw a moment ago when she appeared to be irritating is not the wholepicture, there is something more about this person and you have no idea who she is sojudging her makes no sense. Sure, her action is rude and she probably can’t help iteither. Imagine how difficult life must be for her when everywhere she goes she makessuch a scene. Already the antidote is working – you find yourself in a different state.Now you approach her and ask how you can make her experience better?
  15. 15. Make another drink 3 times if need be until she is happy. You will feel much betterabout your choice of action and you will feel an increased amount of energy and asensation of content. Wonderful! Next!As you can see it is very important to be considerate of others during service. Packyour vanity and attitude away for the duration of the shift. Learn to look at situationsand people with different eyes. See them with understanding that you cannot possiblyknow who they really are, hell, they have no idea who they are so how can you?Consider them always. Vodka-Soda Baby? No problem! Extra Dirty Grey GooseMartini with extra olives on the side? Sure – here you go! They have to leave happy.Do not preach to them what they should be drinking. Keep this advice for people whoask you directly, for your regulars and your fan club. Do not bother a vodka drinkerwith your options on the cocktail menu. They are not interested nor it is in yourinterest to make them feel ignorant or not in the “know”. Some people want to stick toordering a chicken dish in a fine dining restaurant and that’s the end of that. Somepeople like mediocrity and are willing to pay for it. Should that make them less in youeyes or a less important customers? Certainly not. Remember these examples and addyour own as you collect your own personal antidotes.“Shared ownership develops when guests talk about a restaurant as ifit’s theirs. They can’t wait to share it with friends, and what they’rereally sharing, beyond the culinary experience, is the experience offeeling important and loved. That sense of affiliation builds trust and asense of being accepted and appreciated, invariably leading to repeatbusiness, a necessity for any company’s long term survival.”Danny Meyer – Setting the TableSecond Step – Create the Working Personality in your mindAsk yourself: “What kind of a Bartender do I wish to be?” “ What kind of Bartenderwould I like to be served by?”And then think for a while. Write it down the details and create that person in yourmind. Do I need to work on mixology? Or the Rock Star part? Maybe I need to spendmost of my time working on Wisdom? What kind of speed and routine does thisprofessional have? How does he/she stand, walk and talk behind the bar? What arehis/her strong points? What is his/her demeanor? How does that person handleflirtation? How does he/she handle potential problems? Etc, etc…be specific and don’tbe shy to steal other people’s methods or use them as models. If it works – great! It isvery important to remember that this is by no means easy and will take you some timeto define it to yourself what you really wish to become.Third Step – Action
  16. 16. If your working character needs more reading and practice on the mixology part –then get to work. Study, ask older bartenders and work hard. Do what they tell you.Do not think that you know everything already, because you don’t!It will be some time before you even begin to experience the humility to admit this toyourself.If you need to work on your Rock Star part – take a mentor. Someone you appreciatefor being a rock-star behind the bar and ask them to teach you. Chances are that theywill be more then happy to talk to you about themselves and to teach you how tobecome a similar player.If you wish to master the Sage aspect – then it is all about observing self and learningwhere the energy or force goes during the night. What is my responsibility to theSituation? What does this person need to hear right now? How can I help? How can Imake the situation better?However – chances are that you will need to work on all three parts as long as youpractice this trade since it is an evolving affair. You need to begin somewhere andmake the first step.Recommended: Daily Physical ExerciseYou heard this from your parents, your teachers, your girlfriends/boyfriends,husbands & wives. You also heard it from your physicians. Sound mind in a sound body.Move it daily, move the life force in you. Let your body work and sweat. Your mindwill be clearer, more grounded, focused and calm. Choose any kind of workout that isattractive to you – anything will do as long as it is regular.
  17. 17. Self-observation or WitnessingSelf-observation is a tool which will help you get a clearer picture of the way youfunction from the inside and will also provide you with the ability to take “mentalphotographs” of yourself and change the way you see and perceive the self and theworld. It is in effect – uncritical spying on oneself.Usually it’s observation:Me observing object, phenomenon☺But the Trick is Self-Observation!Me observing self and object, phenomenon at the same time☺It is an effort in which one observes the self as a whole. Dividing ones attention is forthe purpose of self-observation. One part of your attention is directed at uncriticallyobserving yourself in life. Another part of your attention is not caught up in theexternal flow of events. It sees ones internal psychological condition. To do itcorrectly, one part of your attention is focused on your external circumstances and theother part is directed inward in order to observe your internal states and reactions.Example:Someone snaps his or her fingers at you during service, demanding your attention.Immediately you sense that your buttons are pushed. If you are observing yourself youwill notice which button was pushed and what reaction is about to follow. Anger,pride, vanity…which is it? Can that feeling help me now? Even more important – canthis reaction help this person never to act in such a way in the future? Not likely.Seeing yourself wanting to react automatically in one way, remembering the futility ofit, noticing the initial insult wilting away is the result of Self-Observation. And ithappens in real-time.You see yourself interacting in the world as an objective observer might through yourchanging inner states. Note contradictions. With your divided attention, observeyourself, not something else.
  18. 18. In self-observation, you are a silent witness to the activity within you, which reveals toyou your stimulus-response nature, personality distortions, imbalance of centers, andleads toward knowing what you must work on.Self-observation needs to be free-wheeling and spontaneous. Your observations willlead to a catalog of insights about yourself, which will then give you a truer picture ofwhat you have to work with.Practice self-observation uncritically. Do not identify with what you observe. Try toseparate psychologically from all negative thoughts, states, and feelings. Releaseanxiety, let personality be passive, and observe, observe, observe.There is no doubt that honest self-observation hurts. It is painful to see the artifice,immaturity, selfishness, absurdities and uncontrolled tendencies of ones behavior in anobjective light. Most people will do anything to avoid seeing themselves for what theyare or have become.Merely reaching the point of seeing ourselves as others see us requires a level ofdedication to this idea which can endure severe necessary suffering. This effort is notfor the fainthearted, the amateur seeker, the gatherer of eclectic information. It can bedevastating and brutal when you first come face to face with realizations aboutyourself. But then it becomes profoundly liberating and inspiring.It is true that we need to be "merciless" with ourselves in seeing things for what theyare (namely, internal reactions, attitudes, states). But this mysterious practice of self-observation is about creating a new quality of awareness within ourselves, and clearingthe ground for a new sense of identity. Ultimately, it leads to a development of beingthat is characterized by great compassion, even for the mechanical and chaotic aspectsof oneself.The effort of self-observation gives you new information revealing ways of seeing thatwhich was unknown before, and most especially paves the way for a new, deeper, Selfto be born. This watchfulness or vigilance -- as long as it remains independent offeatures, moods, etc -- will generate a recovery of your essential nature which is buriedbeneath acquired personality.In making the effort, beginning with self-observation, little by little we dis-empowerthose tyrannical “I”s. We create in ourselves a place of knowledge, perspective, andempowerment from which we can act intentionally. As self-centered “Is” lose powerunder the effect of that effort (through the force of self-observation) we cease to haveso many requirements of the world. We become free of constantly needing what wedont have, or constantly being unhappy with what we do have. We recognize that ourattitudes and opinions are relative and our likes and dislikes are irrelevant to reality.So it is essential to see yourself objectively or you will not recognize what it is youmust work on.Our inner life consists of states and our outer life consists of events. The trick is to
  19. 19. realize that the history of our lives is not a succession of outer events but actually thestory of how well our inner states correspond to the outer events. What you need to beobserving is what state you are in -- Are you confused? Are you anxious? Are you innegative imagination? Are you engaging in internal dialog? Are you being critical ofwhat you observe? Are you indulging in self-pity?Do you notice when you are insincere? Do you see yourself lying, pretending to know,care, understand, be sympathetic, etc.? Can you feel identification when you are in it?Do you see changing Is? Contradictions between “I”s?Do you see vanity? Do you need to be right? Do you insist on having your own way?Are you disappointed that you dont have what you want? Do you notice how much ofyour behavior is based on what you like or dont like?Below is a way to begin the process of self-observation by starting to identify yourcognitive (or thought) distortions. These are the kinds of thinking processes we allengage in at different times, especially when stressed or feeling anxious. Thesedistortions lead to all kinds of inappropriate behaviors and unhappy feelings. Begin bystudying the list and identifying which ones you use. Then begin to look for thesituations in which you are using them; what you are feeling when you start to engagein one of them, and how you wind up feeling?Cognitive Distortions or Wrong Perception of Reality1. All or Nothing Thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If yourperformance falls short of perfect you see yourself as a total failure.Example: Arguing with a customer about how a drink “should” be made and insistingon it.2. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern ofdefeat.Example: If one customer stiffs you on your tip, you start to think the whole night isfull of shitty crowd.3. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively sothat your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors theentire beaker of water.Example: Being in an argument before or at the beginning of the shift and carrying onin that state all night. Imagine yourself having a black cloud above your head whileworking.4. Disqualifying the Positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “dontcount” for one reason or another. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that iscontradicted by your everyday experience.
  20. 20. Example: Insisting on your negative judgment of a customer even if they have proventhat you do not have to perceive them in only that way.5. Jumping to Conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there areno definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.a) Mind Reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you,and you dont bother to check it out.b) Fortune Telling: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feelconvinced that your prediction is an already established fact.Example: “This guy is an asshole because he: is dressed a certain way, orders a“wrong” drink, his girl is too hot for him, he is a foreigner and won’t tip, etc, etc, blah,blah…”6. Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization: You exaggerate the importanceof things (i.e., your mistake, someone elses achievement) or you inappropriatelyshrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities, or the othersimperfections).Example: I didn’t say hello/thank you/how are you to the boss, therefore he will think lessof me.7. Emotional Reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflectthe way things really are. “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”Example: Tonight’s gonna suck. It’s Monday night and it will be dead.8. Should Statements: You try to motivate yourself with should have and should notsas if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to doanything. “Musts,” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence isguilt. When you direct should statements towards others, you feel anger, frustration,and resentment.Example: I was very attentive to that guest all night long, he really should have tippedme better.9. Labeling and Mislabeling: An extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead ofdescribing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself. “Im a loser.” Whensomeone elses behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to them.Language is usually highly colored and emotional.Example: Only a real loser wears sunglasses in doors at night.10. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event,
  21. 21. which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.Example: A fight is started at the bar by one of your less favorable guest and you sayto yourself “I knew he was going to start trouble-I’m an idiot for not throwing him outsooner.”What to do when anger arises?People who act rudely many times think they have been hurt or wronged. They maythink they are not getting “the treatment they deserve or believe they are entitled to.”They then feel angry and act as if what they were thinking is the reality. Their thinkinghas created, in effect, a distorted reality, which they then accept as the real reality.They may also not feel very self-confident about achieving their goals. For some people,putting other people down, or being rude, is a way they build up their self-confidence.Weird isnt it? Would you like to be such a person?When you really think about it, anyone who appears irritating to us is actually amirage that our mind and emotions play on us. Does an irritating person exist inreality? A person that is equally irritating to everyone? All the time and every time?Someone who was “Born to Irritate”?Let’s think for a moment—it is quite easy to deduce that such a person does not exist.What is the proof of that? Someone, somewhere, loves that person. Someone, even ifthe only one who does, is their mother – someone has a different perception of thatperson than you, therefore they do not exist as an irritating person. Rather, it is me, mymind and my conditioning which translates the influences of this person as irritating tome. So it is with everything…our mind colors our reality and depending what currentset of personalities are in charge, our perception will shift accordingly. It can be saidand remembered therefore that everything is perceptible. In life but especially when weare engaged behind the bar.Remember that being angry depletes most of your force or energy that you worked sohard build up. Do not let yourself enter the viscous circle of negativity again. Imaginethat you are a Tai-Chi master who uses his opponent’s strength for his advantage andrelax. Every night and every shift will end at some time. There was never a job thatlasted forever. Take refuge in remembering that in life everything is impermanent andthat everything lasts for a certain amount of time. You have a chance to learn thispractice and master it so that one day you can pass it on to others.
  22. 22. Food for thought“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding ofourselves.” – Carl Gustav Jung“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves” – CarlGustav Jung“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses ofother people” – Carl Gustav Jung“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes” – Carl Gustav Jung“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it atsomeone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for thetruth, and have begun striving for ourselves.” – Buddha“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service andcompassion are the things which renew humanity.” – Buddha“It is the greatest mistake to think that man is always one and the same. A man is neverthe same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even forhalf an hour.” - G. I. Gurdjieff“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein“Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.”- Albert Einstein“But youre gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeedYoure gonna have to serve somebody,Well, it may be the devil or it may be the LordBut youre gonna have to serve somebody.” – Bob Dylan"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. Theother is as though everything is a miracle." – Albert Einstein“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim atpurifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” - Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi“ Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.”- Joseph Campbell
  23. 23. “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than toanything on which it is poured.” - Mark Twain“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” - Bruce Lee“Your only rightIs to the action,And never to its results.You may never actFor the sake of the results;But neither may you everBecome attractedTo deciding not to act.” -Lord Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita II.47“A person engrossedIn the object of the sensesBegins to feelA connection to them.From this connection,Desire is born;And from this desireComes anger.” - Lord Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita II.62“He [The Bartender] should be pleasant and cheerful with every one, as that will notonly be gratifying with customers, but also prove advantageous to the bartenderserving them” – Harry Johnson 1882, Bartender’s Manual“The Bartender who plays favorites with boss’s liquor may be influencing people, buthe’s not making a helluva lot of friends for the business.” - Trader Vic 1947,Bartender’s Guide“The swaggering air some bartenders have, and by which they think they impress thecustomers with their importance, should be studiously avoided. “- Harry Johnson, Bartender’s Manual“When waiting on customers, at any time, it is of the highest importance for abartender to be strictly polite and attentive in his behavior, and, especially, in hismanner of speech…he should be cheerful and have a bright countenance.”- HarryJohnson, Bartender’s Manual“My father, a landlord of distinction who ran three successful pubs in he lifetime,taught me that in order to be a good publican-which requires qualities very similar tothose of a bartender-you must have “as many faces as the town hall clock.” He didn’tmean that you shouldn’t be true to yourself and speak your mind when need be. Whathe’s saying was that it’s often necessary to react to situations in such a way as to guidethe outcome to a pleasant conclusion.”- Gary Regan, The Joy of Mixology
  24. 24. “The Greatest Accomplishment of a Bartender lies in his ability to exactly suit hiscustomer” - Harry Johnson 1882, Bartender’s Manual“Always appear pleasant and obliging under all circumstances” – William T. “Cocktail”Boothby, American Bar-Tender, 1891“Avoid conversations of religious or political nature” – William T. “Cocktail” Boothby,American Bar-Tender, 1891“ There are a few basic recipes that are considered standard, but no two cocktails willever be identical. Different people mix drink under different circumstances, and thisvariety is one of the delights of drinking cocktails. Show me a hundred differentbartenders, and I’ll show you a hundred different Martinis”. – Master Kazuo Uyeda,Cocktail Techniques“Your most important job as a bartender is to think about how you can make a cocktailthat the guest will think is great. Never forget this. This is fundamental if you want tomaster the way of the cocktail”. - Master Kazuo Uyeda, Cocktail TechniquesSuggested Literature:Gary Regan – Joy of MixologyDanny Meyer – Setting the TableKazuo Uyeda – Cocktail TechniquesKen Wilber – The Simple Feeling of BeingHarry Johnson – Bartenders Manual