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The Ole Tommy Boy Turnaround

In my family, Tommy Boy is considered a “classic film”. I think most of our family members could recite the bulk of it. In addition to being hilarious, it has a few decent life lessons we can all learn from.

The most notable may be when Tommy Boy stumbles upon his hidden ability to sell. He knows he habitually destroys every sale he tries to make. But ultimately, through his struggle, he connects with another human being, the waitress.

Through this moment, he realizes that if he truly connects to someone, considers their feelings and shows them genuine kindness, he can sell just about any concept he wants.

In this clip, Tommy Boy inadvertently causes the waitress to do a 180. She had previously shut him down. But he took the time to connect with her personally, relate to her, show her kindness and remind her of their humanity. It’s remarkable how disarming that process can be.

Over the years, I’ve referred to this clip many times, calling it “The Ole Tommy Boy Turnaround”. I think it’s powerful, and worth noting.

Circumstances shouldn’t dictate how you treat people. Your actions should always be deliberate, and in my opinion, they should be deliberately kind and humane. If you take the time to connect with someone, you can almost always come to a peaceable resolve.

The next time you’re in a difficult situation, I suggest you try the Ole Tommy Boy Turnaround. Kill ‘em with kindness and see if that gets you sorted out.

The next time you want to change or accomplish something, take a step back, be patient, be kind and connect with the humanity around you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at where that gets you.


  1. Bee on June 25, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    I use this phrase regularly as needed and today when someone responded, “what’s a Tommy turn around?” I went to google it, expecting to copy and past a wiki or urban dic link to text message. I hadn’t realized the Anagazas/Millers seemingly coined the term– basically the top most relevant link ranked at just #6.

    Also the first time I saw this clip. #NewAppreciation
    Excellent reminder on what makes the world go round (or whatever direction you want it to go).

    • Jared Angaza on June 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Excellent! Yeah, Tommy Boy is a family favorite, especially for my parents. Many life lessons to be learned from that one (the importance of laughter being the foremost).

      I’ve used this concept (referenced in the blog post) with many people when talking about how to turn people around. It’s very “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie. Good stuff.

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