I had an interesting experience yesterday. A certain institution, a not-for-profit service provider, who have laid down some very stringent processes for them to be able to run a world-class operation, decided not to allow me to use their services. Apparently, I had failed to fulfil some of their requirements. The service was time-bound and had to be delivered today (Wednesday morning IST). A senior management member from the service provider’s side sent me a strong email saying they could not deliver me their service because of my inability to have met/fulfilled certain criteria. While accepting their verdict, I told them that I failed to see why they were inflexible. The gentleman got back saying while they were flexible with certain ‘genuine’ cases, they were unwilling to be so with me. He wondered if I would, despite this one time, want to continue to avail of their services. I wrote back a mail saying Life is too short to be breaking up over what they saw as ‘a non-negotiable’ process and what I saw as an ‘inanity’. I wrote why I felt my case was genuine – not so much to influence the service provider’s stance but to merely explain mine! Even so, I offered to continue to avail of their services going forward. The mails between us were officious and terse, with both of us using impeccable English – making the exchange more dramatic than it should have been. After the last mail from me was sent, I forgot about the issue and moved on with other things to do on my plate.
By early evening though, the gentleman who had been corresponding with me, wrote back. He apologized for his stance and felt, after reading my last mail, that my case was indeed genuine. And that he would advise his team to deliver the service that I had requested. He went a step further and called me up. By the time his call came in, I had just finished reading his mail. I answered his call saying I was very grateful for his understanding and deeply appreciative of his offer to provide us with his institution’s service. He said: “Please don’t deify anyone or anything beyond what is necessary. I would like to apologize for what happened. Let us move on.”
Being a not-for-profit organization, that was offering a service which was rare, there was no way I was going to make them accountable for their stance. So, there really was no need for the gentleman to do any of the following:
– Review my case
– Accept that, despite my non-compliance of their process, there may have been an ‘error in
– Pick up the phone and ensure (through that one call he achieved what half-a-dozen emails
could not) that a bond was built
– Offer to provide the service
To be sure, the fault was also mine – owing to a set of circumstances that I was caught in, I was unable to fulfil certain criteria that anyone seeking their service must. Through the gentleman’s conduct, and this experience, I learnt, yet again, the power of “moving on”.
A lot of the time, a lot of people, cling to positions, stances, opinions, that their ego drives them to take. Once on that ego-driven perch, reason fails to apply. Empathy fails to matter. And the ‘I-am-right’ view holds sway. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to climb down from such a stance, accept a mistake and “move on”.
Think of the number of times you have been driven to taking such stances. Perhaps you are still clinging on to such positions. Review your actions and ask yourself if you can really “move on”. If you believe you can, just climb down, own up your mistake and let go of your big, fat ego. Life is short…so, “move on” when you can! Your world will be a much more beautiful and happier place than it is presently!