Why Not? (Part 1)

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Yesterday, some folks might have been shocked by my list of options I was considering when my business plans were threatened. Particularly the idea that I would consider attacking another business that I had originally planned to protect. First I will say that I often have mean, nasty ideas, but I try not to act on them. However, I think there is an interesting psychology about how ideas like this one pop up.

Some background info might help. I made changes in the business approach of the former company which raised them from slight losses to their largest profits ever. Additionally, I modified the teaching process and they continue to have an extremely stable client base. After leaving the company I continued to assist them whenever asked. (Types of assistance brings up some amusing anecdotes, to which I will refrain from diverging… at this time.) Shortly before I was stunned by accusations they had asked me to help them find a new teacher to replace my replacement.

At some point my former bosses told one of my benefactors in Japan, who happens to be related to one of them, that I was planning to try to steal all of their customers away. While away on my long weekend trip, he sprang this on me. His approach was not, “I heard this. Is it true?” But rather, “You plan to do this. Things are different in Japan. What you plan to do is very wrong.” No matter how I stated that was not my plan, he persisted. This precipitated a meeting with my former bosses to set them at ease (and get them off my back.)

When we met they told me, “If you tell us directly this is not your plan, we will believe you.” I immediately replied, “That is not my plan.” Which was followed by, “We don’t believe you.” The rest of the meal was spent listening to very insulting remarks about my abilities as a teacher and my chances of succeeding. When I had finished my eating and had heard enough, I took the bill and said my goodbyes. They were very angry that I took the bill, but I told them it’s business and suggested they could buy the next dinner under happier circumstances.

So, on to the psychology. It seems that everyone had decided what I was thinking; told me what I was planning to do; and would not trust me at all. Also, I felt that they were already punishing me for my wrongs. It seems a common human reaction (especially among children) to decide, “If I am going to be punished for something, then I might as well just do it.” In my case spite was probably generating some of this thinking: what better way to make them eat their insults than cleaning out their student registry.

Fortunately, I have more to guide my decisions than just my knee-jerk reactions. Ultimately, their feelings about me and treatment of me do not impact my business at all. Politically, they could attack me, which would affect my business, but my assumption is that they will hold off on that sort of nastiness until they actually feel attacked. So, if I just continue finding my own business contacts and developing my business without advertising to their customers, things should be fine.

That seems to be bearing out well. I am three and a half months from starting business and I have enough clients lined up to replace 50% of my current income. There are several other leads that are promising.

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2 Responses to “Why Not? (Part 1)”

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