DEALING WITH THE CURT

I thought you’re a big idea person – how could you not see this?”

This was one of the ending words of a ex-business partner of mine, when I informed them of my decision to pull out of the venture we were in together. It was a creative start-up, and it was fun and exciting with their projects…but as my own business grew, my own commitments grew.

However, these questions of if I was doing okay, or congratulations was not in store – what was more in store for me was a question of my lack of vision for their company. A company of which I managed the operations and finances for, and even injected capital for them to pursue building their health project.

This was not seen anymore, apparently.

I had, for several chances, think about answering the question that was posed to me, in a manner that I believed that I will regret saying, so I choose to keep quiet.

I decided to take the stance of “it’s not worth my time explaining or getting worked up over.”

Hmm.

Actually, this approach works wonders for me, as I find that I really don’t have to deal with people and their own subjective realities, for those realities really reflect their inner state more than mine, and I’m not responsible for their thoughts and feelings.

I often first try to remain cool and tell myself that it’s not personal to me, as I know if I blow my top it doesn’t really help the situation. I try to be as objective as possible (see the three guiding questions that help me objectify)

1. Is this person important? Such that I need to pay attention to his or her words? This shows the level of relationship or proximity.

2. Does his or her words carry weight? Is he or she a specialist is that area of feedback? Or is it just another naysayer? This shows the level of evidence of content that is mentioned.

3. Does this matter in five years time? This gives a timeline perspective of the entire event.

Once I’ve assessed these three questions, I know how to respond, and if I even need to respond to the person who took offense. Most of the time, our discomfort also shows our level of comfort with people who try to intimidate or irritate us.

Then what I do is usually to opt out of the conversation as I don’t wish to waste time negotiating or discussing with people that don’t make sense…unless I have to, then I will try to use a more thought-through response, ensure that I am firm with my responses, and take it from there.

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