September 2, 2015

5 Ways Siri Changed My Life Forever.

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My parents were disappointed. I had dropped out of college, and I was working at a restaurant in the city.

I was disappointed.

I would get home around 10:00 p.m. and write until I fell asleep. Sometimes I’d wake up on the rug and wouldn’t want to get up for work in the morning.

One day out of the blue the manager told me I wouldn’t be working Mondays anymore. Something about someone else needing more hours. I was devastated as fewer hours meant less money. I tried to fight back, but I said to myself, “What’s the point?”

But I should have been overjoyed.

I now had extra time I could use to be creative. Extra time to ride my bike. Extra time to spend with people I loved. I would daydream about dropping everything and just taking a bus to nowhere. And yet still, I wanted more hours.

You can always make back money that you’ve lost, but time lost is lost forever. So I set out to fill my Mondays with meaningful activities. I went to the library and brought my computer. I read, wrote, applied for jobs, and walked around the city interviewing people about anything that came to mind.

Those turned out to be the best Mondays of my life, and they helped catapult my thirst for finding my passion and looking for meaning in the world. It usually comes in unexpected ways.

Who would have thought it would come from Siri. While bored, I often asked Siri silly questions on my iPhone that eventually led me to wonder if she, Siri, had a face. I discovered the woman behind the voice, the voice of Siri; her name is Susan Bennett. I decided to send her an email and asked her if I could chat with her about fighting fear and getting out of your comfort zone. I sent that email expecting nothing. In itself, sending it was an act of getting out of my comfort zone.

Amazingly enough, she replied. And the conversation we had changed my life forever. She’s very bright, and you can tell that she has given a lot of thought to certain life topics, like finding your passion and fighting fear. She shared her hesitation in making public that she was the voice of Siri. I realized then that we’re all scared of something. And we all have some degree of uncertainty in our lives. No matter where we’re at or how successful we may be.

Here are the five things I learned from talking to Susan Bennett:

 1. Let Fear Guide You.

She said this was key. If you keep avoiding fear all your life, you won’t grow. You won’t learn about yourself. You won’t change. People are afraid to change because change means uncertainty. “This might not work.”

Uncertainty means failure and in my case I was scared to give up my Mondays at work. But instead of letting the fear defeat me, I let it guide me. I asked it, “What can I do every Monday from now on that will better myself?” Then I listened.

Magic comes from the silence. Instead of every Monday watching television and sleeping in, I got up as if I was going to work. Then I’d read, write, interview people, create. I now had an advantage over everyone else who was at work being miserable. If I ever get fired it will be scary at first. But then I’ll know what to do.

2. Success Comes From Within.

I asked her if she felt successful before coming out to the public as the voice of Siri. She spent years without telling the public she was Siri. She said, “Definitely. Before I decided to tell the world I was Siri, I loved my work. I loved my job. I loved my family. I was already successful.”

Many people attach their success or happiness to something outward like money or a big house. But it comes from within. To me, being successful is having the freedom to do work that matters and work that you love. And to be able to be with people you love.

I know, we all have to pay our bills. But money is not the cause of success. It is only a symptom. Once you’re happy and doing work that you love, the money follows. Susan told me, “If all you do is chase the money, you’re going to have a miserable time.”

3. You Have A Choice.

Susan said, “People in many other countries have real problems. They don’t have enough to eat, they’re in constant danger, they’re homeless. Here we worry about the silliest things.” True. Then she told me, “What we do have, is the luxury of choice. Other people don’t.”

We have a choice to do the work we want right now. To write that novel, to start a business, to look for another job, to be creative, and to look someone else in the eye and defend our opinion. It’s always been our choice. Sometimes we’re too scared to leave our job if we’re miserable in it.

We think, “How will I feed my family?” “How will I pay the bills?” “The economy is bad right now. I should be glad I have a job.” Susan told me, “We spend about 80 percent of our lives at work or thinking about our work. If you hate it, you’re going to hate your life.” The choice to love our lives has always been ours.

4. It’s Always Your Fault.

In Susan’s early career in the voice-over industry, her agents never got mad at her. They loved her because she never called them and said, “Why didn’t I get the job!? Who got the job?” She said, “If I really want it, they will call me.” If you’re not good enough yet, don’t blame others. It’s your fault. Study your losses and improve. Never blame anyone else but yourself. It applies to relationships, jobs, all of life. It’s always your fault.

5. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone.

Susan was hesitant revealing her identity as the voice of Siri. She considered herself an introvert and wasn’t sure how she’d be able to take the attention. After two years, she revealed herself. Her husband and son encouraged her. She was missing out on a great experience.

She’s glad she came out as Siri. It led to new job opportunities and experiences she didn’t have before. And I wouldn’t have talked to her too and had a connection if she never came out. I’m glad she faced her fear instead of avoiding it.

One day at the restaurant, these guys were looking at a website that was like Craigslist for prostitutes. “$100 for half an hour,” one of them said. I asked, “Why don’t you just go up to that girl sitting over there and ask her out?” The guy looked confused and replied, “Why? Most likely, she’s going to say no. And these girls on this website have already said yes.”

I asked Siri on my phone if she loved me. She said, “Well, you’re definitely starting to grow on me.” We all want to be loved. That’s all this is. We’re all sluts at the Halloween Ball trying to dance with each other with our masks on. Hoping the other doesn’t see our real face. But the real love is when you’re brave enough to fight the fear and take the mask off.

Don’t be Siri. Be Susan Bennett.

I hope this changes your life as well.



A Mantra for Reclaiming our Magic. 


Author: Efrain Martinez

Assistant Editor: Carlotta Luis/Editor: Travis May

Photo: flickr/DavidBlackwell

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