I have lived in Michigan since 1980, and I must say that this is the coldest winter I have ever experienced. I used to think the temperature in single digit Fahrenheit was cold, but it is nothing compared to -10 degrees! After a few times experiencing temperatures in the negative Fahrenheit territory, it felt like a heat wave when a couple of 20 degree days came around. It is interesting how our perspectives change based on the experiences we have had.
I visited Nagoya, Japan just a few days ago, and it was in the low 50’s and sunny. It felt so good! I walked around without any heavy coat or jacket, just my suit coat. Then I noticed that most people around me not only had their winter coats on, they had scarfs, hats, gloves and were shivering! I was really surprised to see that, and people looked at me funny also, probably thinking I was crazy walking around like I did. When I had a chance to chit-chat with the people at the meetings I attended, a lot of people were curious about how low the temperatures had been in the USA and how it felt to be in such cold weather. After we went through the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion, I can see the jaws dropped and they were genuinely surprised and couldn’t figure out how people could function in such “extreme” conditions. Interesting, isn’t it? It was cold, but life goes on and we seemed to be functioning just fine, even though there were certainly some inconveniences we had to deal with.
It shows how experiences and perspectives can really influence how one feels, and the biggest problem we have is trying to convince others that their feelings are wrong! In other words, I thought most of the people were wrong for feeling cold when it was 50 and sunny, and they probably thought it was really strange for me to feel warm when it was ONLY 50 degrees. I heard a wise saying one time: “There is no right or wrong in how one feels, it is only wrong to tell someone else how he or she should feel!” I am paraphrasing here since I can’t remember the whole thing precisely, but I think you get the drift.
We should all remember this when we are dealing with customers and working to sell products or solutions to them. I was on the customer side before, and I still remember a supplier tried to convince me to throw away my strategy and direction because he knew better and his products were all I ever needed and he couldn’t figure out why I would go a different direction and use different products. He spent so much time trying to convince me how good his stuff was, how I felt, and what I knew was wrong. I guess he didn’t care about how I felt and tried to tell me what I felt was wrong and what he knew or felt was correct. He never did try to figure out what I needed and how to satisfy my requirements. Needless to say, I didn’t buy his stuff. It is kind of like trying to convince the people around me that 50 degrees was not cold, and they should all take off their winter coats and be like me instead of finding out whether they were warm enough and whether I could offer them my suit coat to make them warmer.So, when someone says “I feel cold” when it is 80 degrees outside, just remember he is correct, regardless how you feel!! By the way, Happy Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Horse just in case you want to know!