Tea & Snakes

“Why they don’t understand and act as the situation requires?”  Gaurav kept asking himself repeatedly. He was very upset with his team. He closed his laptop and walked out of his office. He was desperate to have a short break. He stepped out of his office, crossed the lane and went to that only tea shop. There he chose to sit on a road facing seat and ordered for a cup of tea.

The lane was less crowded as there were only two office complex and a few residential houses. As the hot tea was served, he sipped it and started to think asking himself a question – ‘‘Why do people do what they do?’’

As Gaurav was thinking hard, he saw a snake charmer coming and as his attention got diverted, he started observing him. The snake charmer found a place very close to the tea shop , sat there all set to entertain a small crowd by  making his snakes dance by playing music. The show started and there were two snakes performing the dance to the music played by the snake charmer.

Gaurav was keenly observing the happenings with the hot cup of tea in his hand. He made the following observations!

  1. There were two young boys aged less than seven for them it was fun, they were very casual and enjoying the snake dance, at times going very near to the snakes and  touching them ignoring the warning of the snake charmer.
  2. There were some adults who were maintaining a very safe distance from the snakes at all times being very cautious. Gaurav could  sense a sort of fear in their faces.
  3. Then there was another set of adults who started a dialogue with the snake charmer asked some questions such as “ are these snakes Poisonous ?”  “Can I touch / hold them ?”  and after getting repeated confirmations from the snake charmer that the snakes weren’t poisonous, and it would do no harm  they very carefully started to touch and hold it.

This made Gaurav think;                              

All the subjects were watching the same snake show but their actions/reactions differed. Seeing this, he was able to draw some parallels to what had happened in his office some minutes ago.

He and his team were discussing the same sales figures, and he noticed how indifferent his team members were, it made him upset hence his visit to the tea shop.

While he was very serious and sincere trying to understand why the sales performance was low , some of his team members were very silent and keeping a safe distance from the discussion and while others were like those two young boys remained casual  without any seriousness.

Gaurav was expecting every member of his team to see the situation as he saw, but it didn’t happen that way. What he thought about the situation made complete sense to him but not for others. He was wondering why it is so ?

He got the answer while watching the snake show. In the world of those young boys’ snakes aren’t dangerous so they were just enjoying and touching it without any fear. In the case of the second set of people, the snakes are dangerous, so they were maintaining a safe distance. And for the rest after confirming that those snakes weren’t poisonous, they were comfortable touching and holding it.

The problem is,  in a given situation a person assumes that the situation appears in the same way for others as it appears for him, but in reality, the same situation appears different for different people hence their action / reaction to a given situation  differs. If we want to alter  the action of others first, we need to understand how the given situation occurs to them or how they see a given situation and alter it.

He smiled and with a satisfaction of finding something profound Gaurav finished his cup of tea and started walking back to his office energized.

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