Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WANT TO CROSS THE RIVER? THEN, DON'T ARGUE WITH THE BOATMAN!








Pic.: Sherry Haridas

If there are two people around me, lo, there are two different opinions. If I add mine, there are three. And, if there are a hundred people around me, let me be ready to deal with a hundred different opinions. One more, if I add my own!

To be effective in dealing in with people around me, I should be able to deal with their different opinions effectively.

The more I think about it, I get more and more convinced, that the art of dealing with different opinions of people – at times, totally contrasting – is one of the most important leadership skills we can own. It calls for a very high self-esteem. It calls for a belief in our vision… trust in people, their goodness… trust in communication… that, with honest communication, most of the differences can be sorted out… that, by honoring, respecting and accommodating different opinions, we only become strong as people… It improves our relationship… helps us find - what Dr. Covey called - ‘a third alternative’…

On the other hand, when our self-esteem is low, our self-confidence is low… our trust in people around us is low… We perceive difference in opinion as a threat… rather than as an opportunity to grow, build and work together… We operate from fear and insecurity… We react, speak from behind… and, conspire against those who hold different views, try to pull them down.

We need loads of patience to deal with people with different opinions. If the ‘big picture’ is clear to us, patience will be there when we need it. So, it is all about the ‘big picture’ we are able to see before us…  Difference of opinion, in such case, is a small issue to deal with. It is just like this… Imagine I and my family are in a boat. We have to cross the river to reach the other side. And, right in the middle of the deep river, I get into an argument with the boatman, in whose hands hang the lives of my family, including mine. Now, I have, two options, here: lose my patience, get into a rage even if that means going down with the boat. Or, just use a great deal of patience, stay out of fierce argument… even if that means, letting the boatman win the argument, save his face… If the ‘big picture’ – the goal of reaching the other side safely with my loved ones – is clear to me and dear to me, let me tell you, I will have enough patience to deal with the boatman and his opinion which I might hate…


The question, therefore, is simple: What is important to me: Saving my face or saving mine and my loved ones’ lives? Winning an argument with a stranger or winning my own self-trust?

Yes, self-confidence is all about feeling good about myself… Isn’t it?


GERALD D’CUNHA

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