The other day, after a routine meeting at office, as I was walking out of the bosses office, he suddenly asked, ” What did you think?” and paused. Not wanting to betray that I really did not think during this meeting I let the pause grow …. “Was I very rude with people … am I very brusque … ?”
Quickly sending up a thank you that this was not about me and my thinking I said ..”Well… you were very quick in your decisions … I mean, you did not really waste much time listening…” (hee hee, the diplomatic me !)
“But have I become this way recently?” he asked,” I am told people are scared of coming to me and thats not good is it?”
And I said … ,” No, I mean, yes, you were not so impatient some years ago.. but you are older now and …..”
I will not bore you with the rest of my pearls of wisdom on that occasion and it not quite germane to the point I am trying to make, which is:
The older we get the more impatient and rigid in our viewpoints we become.
As we get older it becomes more and more difficult for us to hold back our `wisdom’ of what will or will not work because we know (or think we know at any rate) what has happened in the past in so many different `scenarios’ that we just want to `get on with it’ and not make (or let anyone else make) `the same mistakes’.
There is also a feeling that we are wasting time .. a commodity that we suddenly see as being rather limited at our age.
Suddenly listening becomes all that more difficult. My son’s constant refrain `Amma .. you are not listening’ is taking on a whole new age .. .. like I needed any reminders!
I usually ignore `forwards’ but one last week really had me nodding in agreement. It was about this couple from the back of beyond and people they met wrote them off based on their appearance and then they … well that was not really what this is about. Coming back to the point ..it ended with `People forget what you said, they forget what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel’
The more I think about this the more it seems to me we are finally nothing but a set of feelings. We make snap judgments of people we meet based purely on how their words, actions or just their body language made us feel. Our goals, our ambitions are dictated by what makes us (or what we think will make us) feel good. When we blow away the dust on that box of memories what comes tumbling out is all those feelings… of elation, grief, disappointment, anger, contentment … attached, as it were, to people, places and events. But what wells up first and colors everything is the feeling.
I frequently find that when I remember something said to me and I struggle to remember `who’ said it, my mind says it is someone you are close to because you felt comfortable hearing it from him or it is someone you don’t quite know because you felt distrust… the feeling leads me to the person
We bought our home because we walked in and it `felt’ nice, I love the sound of whispering coconut palms and smell of raw mangoes and ripening jackfruit because it whisks me back to carefree summer holidays and the associated feelings of warmth, security and timelessness.
Businesses do this all the time -using our feelings to get us to act in a specific way. The deo that promises to make us feel handsome and irresistible, the donation that makes us feel good for helping a little orphan.. sometimes it is far more subtle..like when a hotel chain uses a particular fragrance in its premises that brings on associations of family and comfort to make us feel `at home’.
We choose our stores to shop at, restaurants to eat at all depending on how they make us feel. The person who said people who shop at WalMart do so because it makes them feel comfortable being themselves, that they are not being `judged’ is onto something.
We are nothing but a collection of feelings and the one who makes others feel good has the keys to open all doors!