I’m Not Going to Slap You If You’re Different

I was talking to someone today about how diverse people are, how diverse are their opinions, their ways of living and of looking at life, both in a social and business context. It was a long discussion, both theoretical and practical, because it was related to a large-scale project that involves, first and foremost, taking social factors into account, people’s motivations on how to act in relation to others, going beyond the simple incentives in buying a product or a service. It was a long and very instructive discussion, as I like “story exchanges” to be when I talk to people. That is, a genuine substance exchange.

On this occasion I remembered an idea that has always guided me, namely that you cannot slap someone, anyone, for the simple fact that they are different in thought, behaviour and action than you, as long as a level of respect is maintained and nobody exceeds the bounds of common decency. Likewise, you cannot expect someone to radically change, and if they don’t to accuse them or to apply intentional corrections on them, for the simple fact that they differ from the image you have in your head of what you want them to be. This is valid in both personal and business relationships.

Most of the time when I broke off contractual relations I did it for the reasons listed above, sometimes it was “painful” for my wallet, portfolio and even my soul, but invariably I did it without regret. I think it has to do with a certain savoir-faire, principles and rules in personal life that have direct repercussions in contractual relationships. You can’t be two different people at the same time: to be somebody outside of business and someone else in your professional life. Otherwise, people may suspect you have schizophrenia. I increasingly understand that my personal and contractual relationships have almost always been long-lasting and engaging, often entailing more than just sticking to the spiritual and literal contract, precisely because of my personal choice to be and think this way.

Very specific thoughts at the beginning of the year, acquired after many years of interaction, positive and especially negative experiences with people. Thoughts for which I have to thank a few individuals, some of whom are special to me even now, others who have become “non-special” because of their actions and thoughts, but I will not mention them here.