In bed with a mosquito!

Illustration of mosquito biting human hand

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve obviously never been in bed with a mosquito.”    
~ Michelle Walker

Quite often I see people who don’t want to be noticed. It’s not that they are not noticed, it’s just that they feel that by blending into the background, nobody will be aware of their existence.

“Come forward!” I tell them, when we play a game.

“No!” They tell me, “We are too shy!”

It’s not easy to be confident. I agree. And in today’s world very often, being confident can be a put down. You decide you want to tell a joke, and at that very moment the phone belonging to your listener rings or a waiter walks over to your table and after the phone conversation has ended or the waiter left, you feel nobody wants to listen to you.

Be patient. Watch others. Phones always ring. Waiters always turn up. What do others do? They don’t wait for the phone conversation to end. They don’t look angrily at the waiter. They look patient. In fact, they smile at the waiter, they do something else while you talk on the phone, and then when the conversation is over and the waiter leaves they continue enlivening you with the rest of their conversation.

Be bold, be patient, learn to accept these interruptions and plod on.

Remember the mosquito. When it zooms down on somebody, it doesn’t feel like a failure when you move your arm, or try to hit it. It moves away, appears disinterested and then at the right moment comes back, strikes hard!

All the malaria and dengue we hear of, proves me right!

How do you accept the interruptions?

By not taking yourself seriously. This means you don’t think of these interruptions as deliberate but as minor episodes not worth affecting your talk or conversation.

Many times, in the course of my speaking at some function, I’d hear a cell phone ring; even hear the person speaking loudly. It would annoy me to the point of even commenting on it, till I realized that by speaking a little louder or sometimes waiting politely for the person to finish his or her conversation, I could actually use that time well. Because, with me joining in on the interruption, the audience was actually focusing on how I handled the intrusion, and when I came back I had their whole undivided attention.

Try it, instead of shutting up whenever someone interrupts.

Like I said at the beginning, if you think you are too small to make a difference, too insignificant to be heard again, you’ve obviously never been in bed with a mosquito.

You have? Now go and make a difference!

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Robert Clements
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Robert Clements

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist with an estimated readership of 6 million. He also conducts a short-term writer’s course. Contact him on for more details.