William's home for discarded gems and concepts-in-progress.

Welcome to William Van Winkle's blog, home for everything from notes on his latest ebooks to leftovers from his articles in CPU, Tom's Hardware, Smart Computing, and other media outlets. Check out his author pages at Amazon and Smashwords!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Being Deaf to Negativity

My Granddad encouraged me to read the classics of self-improvement during my teen years: Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, etc. Somehow, Napoleon Hill was omitted from his roster. I'm finally reading (listening to) it for the first time now in the abridged version, although I'm liking it more than enough to go back for the five-volume work that was originally commissioned by Andrew Carnegie in 1925.

I came across a story in the book tonight that I thought I'd share with all of you. It's timely for the holidays. The author, Hill, was in a department store one day, standing in line at the customer service station. Before and behind him were mostly women, blazing with rage about some product or service that had gone bad. Hill describes the vitriolic hate that these patrons were heaping upon the lone customer service rep tasked with addressing their complaints. One after the next, these patrons would be hateful, irrational, and outright insulting, but the service rep met each of them with a smile, responded with care, and attentively sent each patron on her way to get a resolution. While each patron was busy spewing forth with her tirade, another employee sat behind the service rep taking notes. At some point before the end of the exchange, the note taker would pass a sheet to the service rep.

This greatly intrigued Hill, who admired the service rep's grace, charm, and patience. He sought out the manager and inquired about it. The manager explained that the service rep was stone cold deaf. She couldn't hear a word anyone was saying to her. The woman sitting behind her was taking notes on everything each patron was saying -- minus all of the invective and expletives. It was this note that the rep was using to guide the patron to a final resolution. Choosing a deaf person for the job was necessary, explained the manager. No one else could do it.

We all can benefit from more patience and willingness to hear the real story rather than the emotional obfuscation layered on top of it. I in particular need to take this lesson to heart, but perhaps it's something that all of us can keep in mind during the month ahead.

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