June 17, 2015

Every Villain is the Hero of His Own Story

Villain

The above is a line I heard Mike Myers use in his ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ interview. Yes, he was talking about Dr. Evil, but I believe this idea can be applied anytime you are dreading a one-one-one with someone because their values, ethics or interests are at odds with your own.

For example, perhaps you know your lunch date is someone who adores golf. His idea of heaven is eighteen holes at his country club on a sunny Saturday. Aside from the fact that hearing people talk about golf makes you want to take a nap, you find the idea of private country clubs abhorrent, elitist, etc.

What to do?

I would ask you to do more than avoid the subject during lunch. I would ask you to make them the hero of their own story: to ask yourself why they might care so much about golf or the club. To consider factors like, “Maybe he was a terrible athlete in high school, and golf is something he’s discovered he’s good at.” Or, “Maybe he was teased for not belonging to the local club as a child, so he places enormous value on belonging.”

The purpose of this exercise is to consider if there are unspoken factors in play–   depending on the scenario, could whomever’s making you cuckoo have family concerns or health concerns or financial concerns you’re unaware of? 

Asking yourself these kinds of questions can expose holes or gaps in your knowledge that can then be strengthened through in-depth conversation. As it becomes obvious to them that you have taken the time to research and try to understand their position, it will be far easier for them to hear and possibly understand yours.

Frances Cole Jones

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