What’s on the iPod: Woodpile by Frightened Rabbit
It was one of those weekends crammed full of stuff. Friday was our only day to “relax” in the evening. We went into town for First Friday happenings, found dinner, then came home and vegged out in front of the television.
Saturday morning we were up at 6 and out the door at nearly 7. We drove five hours to my hometown for my class reunion, arriving at noon at the venue. It was a rainy, miserable ride, but the minute we got into town, the sun came out and it turned into a glorious day.
What a great time! Old friends and classmates — not a lot, as we’d planned in on the spur of the moment — were hugging and laughing together like it was yesterday and we were still in school. Okay, a LOT of yesterdays ago. 🙂 It was a wonderful time and it was great to see such good friends again.
Then back in the car for the five-hour return trip. Oy.
Yesterday, you’d think we would be sitting still. Not so. Back in the car for an hour drive south for our collective meditation. One of the monks was visiting –an Indian monk who comes around every year. He’s inspiring and a very bright spot on the planet, so we had to make time to see him. It was an inspiring, enlightening time with our second family.
The discourse the monk gave us was long, but contained a lot of great things to think about. One of his points was why the monks in our group sleep on the floor or the ground. He said, “The moment you lower yourself to the ground, you humble yourself. That’s how our guru wants us to approach our lives.”
Wow. What a powerful thought. Humbling ourselves.
That’s not to say we become pushovers. In fact, he addressed that alongside his point. We are to approach life humbly, not meekly. The goal is to deal with people from a modest, respectful position. That usually breeds the same reaction, but it’s not okay for others to take advantage, and we must assert what we know is right when appropriate.
It’s taking the ego out of the equation.
Why is that good? Because ego causes us to lose sight of the goal, to react out of emotion (“How DARE they do/say that to me!”), and keeps it on a factual level. For us writers, what would that do for us? If we stuck to the facts — this person owes money to the business or that person harmed my business or that other person isn’t behaving ethically — and we suspend the hurt, blame, and blood lust, could we come to better ways of resolving these issues?
I remember a time when a client was trying to negotiate/explain his per-word payment rate to me. He was clearly making it up as he went. He said I’d be paid per word, but only for those words he chose to use. Oh, and he was going to “round down” to the nearest ten-dollar increment.
My response: that won’t work for me. In my 15 years of writing, I told him, I’d never come across that kind of payment structure, and the uncertainty of what the final payment would be wasn’t clear enough. When I pressed him to define it more clearly and do so in a contract, he became indignant, belligerent, and insulting. He didn’t need a contract because he would never cheat me, and in all his years of working with freelancers, he’d never had one “argue” the rate. (Then he worked with fools, I say, but I digress.)
I kept it professional. My response was, “Then I see we won’t agree. I wish you well. And I hope you know it’s just business — nothing personal.”
There was another note back, with a few nasty words, but they weren’t relevant to the negotiation. His emotions weren’t going to make things better, nor would they change the obvious — I’d already walked away, something he should have done, too.
So when have you been able to remove emotion and keep it professional? Do emotional reactions ever belong in your business?