‘Everything happens for a reason.’

I guess you know that one.

It’s not a personal favorite, somehow, but I’ve been playing with the idea of how stuff that touches me in uncomfortable ways, can present invaluable lessons.

That’s why I’ve started to use a question that I took on from a colorful guy named Brian D. Ridgway:

‘How is this for me?’.

What it comes down to is that the stuff that seems to fuck us up, that tickles our defense mechanisms and gets us all riled up, has the potential to show us things about ourselves that we’ve been hiding.

Powerful, helpful, useful things.

And it works amazingly well, once you get used to playing with it.

Let me give you an example.

A couple of days ago I was approached by a nice person (with a couple of mutual Facebook friends) after we’d been officially connected.

What struck me immediately was the flow of his message.

A compliment, an acknowledgment of my job, and then the opening for a question about the business.

Now I’ve been around the block for a while, and I’ve seen many similar messages and requests and vague attempts at feigning interest for the sake of selling me something (most of the time a program that will transform me into a money-making machine), and this most certainly looked like one of those.

And I tend to hate that stuff and the people who do it.

Big time.

So I decided to flip it just for the fun of it, and sent back a reply telling them I’m doing really well, and if ever I could help them out with something, I’d love to hear from them.

It seemed to me that by doing this, I changed the script.

But this person was good.

And tenacious.

They answered back and made at least three attempts at setting up the bait, in a clever and fairly inconspicuous way.

It annoyed the fuck out of me.

I mean: what do these people think?

How can they do this, this painfully obvious fishing for business, this cold selling, the utterly weak attempt at showing real interest, and the lack of patience to build a relationship first?

Every part of that is so opposite to how I like to conduct business.

And then, in the middle of figuring out how to destroy him in the most vicious way, the question popped up:

‘How is this for me?’

It stopped me in my tracks.

Was there really something I could see and learn here?

Hm.

Then it dawned on me: why was I so incredibly annoyed and frustrated, beyond the reasons I’ve just shared with you?

Why would my anger be so fierce and so deep, was it really so bad what they were trying to do?

And then I realized that I was about the essence of what they’re doing, and how I mostly lack that trait.

It’s their boldness, their ruthlessness, their shamelessness.

This person just went for it and had no real respect for etiquette and politeness.

This was someone with a killer instinct, with aggressiveness, and that’s something I have been suppressing most of my life.

It made a lot of sense, a LOT.

And the realization actually made me grateful.

Now I don’t want to do exactly what they do, but a fair amount of that, under particular circumstances, could be totally worth it and even enhance my life.

I saw that one of the reasons I hated it so much is that I don’t allow that side of myself to come out and play.

Being human can most certainly benefit from embracing the duality of our personalities.

I’ve been grooming myself into being a toothless lion.

A nice guy.

And nice guys never set the world on fire.

That’s what I saw.

That’s how that obviously was for me, tailormade, powerful.

And I wrote him back, explaining how cool it was that he showed up for me and let me experience this resistance and learn from it.

And it’s not the only situation where this has happened.

‘How is this for me?’ turns out to be an amazing tool to shine a light on stuff that I’ve been hiding forever.

It brings up powerful stuff, stuff that makes me a more well-rounded person, and helps me get rid of these weird, one-sided projections.

So next time I piss you off, stop and ask yourself how that is for you.

Flip the situation, and let the answer come up spontaneously.

You’re welcome.

(Photo by michael_perfecto, for Unsplash)

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