Human Science

Last week I relearned an important lesson of life. If you approach a perceived negative situation in the right spirit, you can unleash a powerful positive opportunity. Here is the story:

After the recent Palestinian-Israeli flare up with Hamas, I was beginning to feel far less sympathy for the latter. Though no supporter of terrorism, I felt that Israel was once more expressing their insincerity by fighting rather than negotiating when they had the opportunity to do so in the quiet period before. Though I have seen the same pattern over the years, this time I was perhaps a little too troubled by the situation.

That day, my company received an inquiry about one of the primary services we offer. The party was interested in seeing a demo of our online training application. In response, we sent her a link so the organization could review it for three working days. Though she was pleased with my response, she asked that the term be extended several days because they do not work on Friday and Saturday in Israel. Understanding the issue, I agreed to the extension. I also now understood something else: the subtle connection between my previous inner emotional outburst about the Palestinian situation and the sudden arrival of an email message from this representative of an Israeli company. It struck me as the type of synchronicity and a confluence of events I had experienced a hundred times before, but this time with a somewhat negative edge to it.

Several days later, she sent another email with her verdict about the demo she went through. She indicated that though she admired its features, especially the depth and breadth of content, she had some serious reservations, especially the fact that the text was riddled with typos, and that many of the graphics were muddled and hard to read. As a result, now I really saw the connection between my earlier emotional outburst and this criticism from a potential customer in Israel! In fact, when I looked at her signature stamp, I realized that she was a technical writer for the company’s IT department -- not the normal person who contacts us about purchasing our training. In essence, her comments were not only a direct punch in the gut, but came from someone who ordinarily spends her time examining such issues. In other words, I had attracted the perfect person to criticize our product!

The question then was what would be my reaction to this direct assault. Being human, my first inclination was to lash out at the criticism. I thought, well if she didn’t like the product, she should have just rejected it, and avoided criticism. Fortunately, I gained control of my egotistic, self-justifying line of reasoning, and began to take a more rational approach. I then reasoned that since I had already seen the connection between the locale of this company and my earlier inner emotional outburst, I needed to reverse my attitude and open myself up to the truth of her words. Besides there was still an opportunity to sell her the product if we made the changes she suggested.

So I took a deep breath, pushed aside my earlier combative approach, and seriously considered the validity of her recommendations. After perusing our site in search of problems, and seeing the awful truth in her criticism, I immediately began to take up her suggestions. And so over the course of the next several days, I made considerable changes to the text of the site -- correcting grammar, punctuation, and typos, while inquiring into ways to deliver better on-screen graphics. In fact, I threw myself into the work, and after a short while, realized that I was enjoying the effort!

Before delivering the punch line, let me give you one more piece of information. The product I have been referring to is an online software training application that we have developed for Microsoft’s project management system. For the last five years, my company has been focusing on it exclusively. Well, after I completed the above three-day effort, I received a solitary email in my Inbox. It was from an individual at a company offering its own online project management software. They were interested in having our firm do training and consulting on their online product throughout our region. At first, I balked at the idea, because the product appeared somewhat flimsy compared to the robust Microsoft offering. But then when I saw a demo, I was stunned how powerful, full-featured, integrated, and easy to use it was. It was using breakthrough technology that in many ways now surpassed Microsoft’s offering!

Now suddenly my business was presented with the largest opportunity for new services in a decade. I clearly saw the potential now to double or triple my earnings. And it all came about because rather than react to a negative situation (her detailed analysis of all that was wrong with our current product), I held my feelings in check, and did all that she suggested. The result is that I attracted perhaps our best long-term opportunity in years.

When we shift our attitude in a negative situation to the positive, we harness an awesome power. In essence, we use the energy of the negative, reverse its polarity, and then align with and attract the very best of conditions. Or, as in this case, evoke the biggest business opening in years. Of course, you too can do the same in similar situations in your own life.

--Roy Posner 15:36, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

See also other Case Studies on Life Response

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