Who…or what?

Person X tells you, “I believe this is a great opportunity for you. You should take it on.”

Person Y tells you, “I believe this is a great opportunity for you. You should take it on.”

What is the difference between the two statements? Go on, read them again. Found no difference? Well, let me give you some more information and then we will revisit the question.

Person X is your peer and you love working with her. X is friendly and polite. She often gives you feedback, and you always take it seriously because you know that she cares for your welfare and development in the team and the organization. She is great listener and often gives great advice.

Person Y, well, is the opposite. You hate working with her. She is unfriendly and rude. Her feedback, when she gives it, is often negative and harsh, and you don’t pay any heed to it. She only cares about her work and goals and treats everyone else as a stepping stone to the next level. She rarely listens, and only keeps ordering people around.

Now let us read those two statements again. I will save you the time to scroll up…here are the statements:

Person X tells you, “I believe this is a great opportunity for you. You should take it on.”

Person Y tells you, “I believe this is a great opportunity for you. You should take it on.”

Now do they seem different? Obviously. The words used may be the same, but the intent is poles apart.

The opportunity that Person X is recommending is obviously a good one. Something that you will benefit by. Maybe it’s the learning or visibility or something else. But you are sure the opportunity will help you. You trust Person X after all.

On the contrary, you will keep miles away from the opportunity that Person Y is talking about. There could never be anything good coming out of it. She must be looking for someone to fail and hence thought of you.

True, right? We have all seen, met and worked with many Person Xs and Person Ys in our lives.

But then again, in the two statements above, which is more important – The ‘what’ (opportunity) or the ‘who’ (person associated with it)?

A lot of times we instinctively go with the ‘who’. We get so influenced by the ‘who’, that we completely overlook the ‘what’. And that is when we may miss out on some good opportunities. For all you know it is the same opportunity that they are both talking about, but we look and treat each differently.

There will be times when the ‘who’ does have an impact (negative) on the ‘what’, but we can never know for sure until we objectively look at the ‘what’. This often happens with feedback. I am much more likely to accept feedback and work on it, when the feedback comes from someone I like and/or respect, but when it is someone I dislike, I choose to turn a deaf ear to the feedback, even when the feedback is for my good.

So next time there is a clash between the ‘who’ and the ‘what’, give the ‘what’ its due consideration. It might very well define who you are!

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2 Responses to Who…or what?

  1. Very well said Amit.. got a new perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Civil War vs. Avengers: How do you view conflict? | AMsachdev

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