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Why being narrow-minded will hurt you

Consider the following scenario. You are having dinner at a posh restaurant, something that you looked forward to for a considerable amount of time. You order the best dishes and the best wine to pair. Opposite you sits your partner. Nothing could be more perfect. That is until a waiter accidentally tripped and spilled water on your favorite shirt. Now, the most likely situation would be that you find yourself getting surprised and angry, perhaps even berating the waiter, who is just standing there (embarrassed, no less) and apologising profusely to you. The restaurant offers a small discount and to pay for dry-cleaning, which you accept, of course, but your mood is immeasurably ruined. The factors that led you to perceive the dinner to be exquisite rendered obsolete because of the accident. You end the night on a bad note.

Now consider the opposite scenario. Water is spilled on your favorite shirt and the first reaction you have is that of surprise, which is a natural reaction. You look at the waiter who tripped and helped him up, making sure he is fine. In this situation, you have made the conspicuous and possibly even shocking decision to not get angry. The restaurant offers you a small discount and to pay for dry-cleaning, which you accept. The dinner continues as it was, with the only difference being a stained shirt that would be dry-cleaned the next day. You end the night on a good note and remember the day positively.

In the situations above, the event that affects the different moods is identical, but the outcome is different. Such is the situation in life. We spend our time getting angry or disappointed at things that have already happened (by no fault of ours). It doesn’t occur to any of us in these situations that we can do nothing to change what has happened, but can do everything, to make a choice for what will happen. This applies to our relationships at home and work. We perhaps get riled up by our colleagues for their mistakes and dish out harsh words. We think that if we critique them, they will remember it and act the way we want them to. Unfortunately, if such methods work, then the world would indeed be a more perfect place.

People who tend to have greater control of their emotions, and make the conscious effort of not letting things beyond their control affect them tend to rise up further in the corporate ladder. These people also tend to have greater interpersonal relationships and stronger rapport with their counterparts. Likewise, people who fail to see the bigger picture and lose their cool will end up getting hurt, especially in a world where competition is steep and volatility is to be expected.

It is extremely important to adopt a broader perspective on things before making decisions, or taking steps to achieve a goal. The goal may only bring short-term gratification and may not be beneficial, or permanent in the future.

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