Friday, 7 March 2014

March 7, 2014 Chautauqua

From the Editor's Computer  

   As I sit at my desk putting the finishing touches on this issue, the weather outside features record-breaking temperatures and wind-chills.  At the same time, the sunshine is shining directly on me and it is getting quite hot!  It is becoming more and more noticeable that the sun is getting warmer, which means spring is getting closer.

   The contrast between the two extremes reminded me of Aesop’s fable about the “North Wind and the Sun.”  The North Wind and Sun make a deal to see who is stronger.  For the challenge they decide to see if they can get a man walking below them to take his coat off.

   The cocky wind is sure of his success as he huffs and puffs colder and colder, and even colder air around the man.  Of course, the man just clutches his coat even more tightly against the harsh onslaught.

   While he is getting worried, the wind doesn’t give up right away.  He puts out more effort to no avail.  The man refuses to remove his coat and the wind is left a mere wisp of his former self.

   Then it’s the sun’s turn.  With little effort, and much warmth, in no time the sun’s heat results in the man removing his coat.  Thus proving the sun’s superiority.

   While there are many variations of the “moral” of this tale, one undeniable truth of the fable is that forcing people to do what you want rarely works.  In fact, forcing people to adopt a certain behaviour, and do things your way, usually results in them displaying the opposite behaviour.

   On the other hand, gently and warmly presenting your views, ideas, requests, or desires, can often persuade the person to see the situation  from your point of view without any confrontations.

   As we learn from the sun, a little warmth and encouragement can make a big difference.  You don’t need to generate a warmth as strong  and great as the sun, for even the tiny flame of a match generates heat and can melt water or wax.     

   So never underestimate your impact on difficult people or situations - no matter how small it may seem. 


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