Okay let’s be honest, reality is very relative. That is to say, there isn’t just one reality, even though many years ago I would have argue that there was an absolute truth (one true reality). I was wrong though, but even in those times when I believed this was true, I also believed that that things were not as we perceived, or in other words, there are different realities. Let me explain.
Sam had just learned a new negotiation technique and he was excited to try it out on his friend Kay. He needed his help with a project and he knew Kay wasn’t going to do it for free. So Sam approached Kay about the project, and used his newly acquired negotiation techniques on Kay. Well, guess what? It worked! Sam got Kay to do the project at the rate Sam wanted because the technique was really good.
Jay was invited to give a speech about Personal Development at a camp for adults. Jay prepared himself, got in the zone and he went in. And so he began… dishing out knowledge and sharing insights that moved his audience. And he thought he had done enough, he concluded and waited for questions. Then Jay noticed the organizer of the camp hand an envelope to his assistant. It was money, obviously, and this motivated Jay to continue and he spoke even more. Then again, the host handed another envelop to his assistant. This time, Jay was sure that his speech made such a big impact that the host decided to pay him, not once, but twice! On their way back, Jay was discussing with his assistant about how he broke a leg with his speech, how impressive he was that he even got paid twice, and so on.
Now, looking at these two scenes here, both Sam and Jay lived one reality and as far as they’re concerned, that was the only reality and that’s what really happened, right? Right? Wrong!
Now let me give you the same scenes, but from the perspective of the second party.
Scene #1 (2nd party’s perspective)
Sam approached Kay with a project that he needed help with and Kay was excited to make some extra money on the side. Kay and Sam go back a few years so Kay decided that $35 was a fair amount for the project. However, since Sam was the one asking, so Kay wanted to know how much Sam was willing to offer. Kay listened to Sam talk, and explain, and long story short, Sam eventually suggested that Kay should do the project for $35. At that point, Kay felt they both agreed that the project was worth $35, until Sam exclaimed “well that was easy!”. Kay asked “What was easy?” to which Sam replied “getting you to do the project for $35! I just tried out a new negotiation technique on you and it worked!”. Kay didn’t want to steal Sam’s moment, so he let him bask in the glory of his proven negotiation technique.
Scene #2 (2nd party’s perspective)
Then Jay finished his speech and was waiting for questions in a kind of Q & A session. The host wasn’t very impressed with his speech and she didn’t want to send him back empty handed after spending all that energy giving a speech that, to her, wasn’t worth it. Prior to his arrival, she had decided to give him a certain amount of money (let’s say $100), but since she wasn’t impressed, she reduced that amount and handed the rest ($60) to Jay’s assistant. The Q & A went on for a while, until it became a second session and Jay continued to talk for about half the duration of his initial session. It was at this point the host felt that Jay had at least just barely earned the total amount she had decided to give him initially, and then she handed the balance ($40) over to Jay’s assistant.
Clearly, we can see the same events did have very different meanings for both parties. And these are not fictional events; these events really happened years ago, both of which I witnessed firsthand and happened to know both sides of the story.
Next time, you might want to consider what you choose to accept as your reality.