Helping You Build A Relationship You Can All Be Proud Of

Saturday, 30 November 2013

LESSONS FROM A HARDWARE SHOP ON THE AFLAO ROAD... BE PROACTIVELY VISIBLE

I woke up this morning with work on my mind; cobwebs to remove, dirty laundry to do, painting works to ensure done and similar household chores society has reserved for unsuspecting husbands. I realized we did not have a ceiling brush at home and the broom was not in good shape so I decided to drive out to get some. 

After driving for about 2km, I found a chain of hardware shops on the Aflao Road. I slighted off the road and entered the premises. There were three shops. Two sold building materials among others, the third one sold electrical fittings. 

I had my eyes on the two shops that sold the building materials. There were two ladies sitting in one shop and two guys sitting in the other shop. Just when I was stepping out of the car, one of the two guys saluted me and I nodded in response. What do you think happened thereafter? I walk straight to his shop and got what I wanted and went to sit in my car. While I was driving off I realized the two ladies were looking hard at me. 

One thing struck me as I drove out and off: The importance of attracting attention to one's self.

There were two shops selling similar items under the same roof under similar conditions. Why did I choose one over the other? Yes, it could have been the nearness of one to where I parked over the other; it could be that I saw what I was looking for in one shop as soon as I parked, it could be that I knew one shop owner better. Many reasons could have accounted for my choice. The truth, however, was that none of the above was the reason for me choosing one shop over the other. For me, the decision was solely influenced by the personal effort made to attract my attention by the elderly man who tended one of the two shops. 

In Ghana there is an adage that goes like, 'good beads do not speak out loud'. It is like saying Lamborghini need not run an ad to attract customers. As much as it is true, the question is, 'is Lamborghini in the market for everyone to buy?' The answer clearly is no! Lamborghini has its own clientele that will always look for it with or without an ad. And so are good beads; they have kings and queens and rich folks who know their worth, who look for them. It is an error to look at life from that perspective; these ostentatious goods are not for everyone.

The fact that something is done on the quiet side does not mean it will attract curious eyes and assume value. In other words, silence is not a good indicator that people will start looking for you. In fact being silent about who you are, what you are capable of doing and what you can bring to the table is a recipe for dying uncelebrated. Unless you are an Emir in a gulf state or the reclusive investor who just bought Microsoft, Apple and Google in a series of strange and bizarre takeovers. With that, you can be sure people will dig deep and fly high just to find you.

For everything else, there is the absolute need to be proactive in attracting people to yourself. In your daily work at the office, note that there are more aggressive people all eying and counting the day that seat above will be vacant. There are people who are going the extra mile, either by meeting set corporate targets, closing huge business deals, being at the forefront of corporate innovations and finding smart and exciting ways of going through the same old boring routines. You cannot afford to go to work and be lost behind your desk, answering phone calls, replying e-mails, giving quotations, working on ledgers and going through the backbreaking routine and being lost in the line. 

You must attract your boss's attention, your boss's superior, their colleagues, your own colleagues in a way that carves a niche for you to the point where a specific aspect of the job is always synonymous to you. 

Everyday, people are taken to the altar. Are they necessarily the good people getting married? Absolutely not. I hear over and again how the good people are single and the 'crazy' ones are getting married en masse. I say, how are you attracting attention to yourself? How visible are you? How proactive are you to be taken? How well have you positioned yourself? 

You do not expect to be married if you are a single person whose friends are from same sex groups. How often do you expect to meet someone of the opposite sex and how good will that once-in-a-while-opposite-sex person be? And it is even worse if you work at a place where you  are cut off from clients and you close late in the day. How do you expect to be seen? You need to be visible. If you can, change your job...unless the job is important than your relationship, then by all means keep it. You can have your roles changed, you can be in the same job, but change your social circles so you meet more people of the opposite sex. You need not necessarily start going to all sort of crazy places and do crazy stuff in order to be seen and taken. You can find a lot of decent places and decent things to do through which you can meet a great number of people of the opposite sex. 

You are on various social media platforms, and you don't even have your picture there or anything about who you are or what you do or what you stand for. How do you expect anyone to be interested in you? That is not to say go and advertise yourself on Facebook; but let's face it, the one you will meet in the church room or at a charity ball is as a stranger as the one you will on Facebook. You have been single for three years and counting...you have 1,200 friends on Facebook....trust me you want to reconsider the wise saying that goes like, 'charity begins at home.' I am not expecting you to go all silly and do silly things and get heartbroken on social media....But there is that guy or lady who is close by, who you can meet and take it off Facebook into real life. I know what I am saying!

How do you expect your partner to be interested in you and always come home to you with excitement when you are not visible? You keep your conversations few, you seem distant when they want to be close...always sucked up in one thing or the other. You cannot wait for them to get home; it is the house help who must stay awake to attend to them. You cannot break your busy routine to check up on them if their day is going well; if you could pick them up for dinner. You cannot empathize with them as their go through their daily struggles. You are lost in the chain of life's events. Between you and your partner are many things that block their view of you; your busy-ness, the children, the house-help, your friends, your family, your personal space and your sensitivity. 

Much as you think it is not a logical conclusion, your children are taking up your space; the house help is now having her word over yours and in an argument, your husband may most likely side with her.  That man, that woman is now becoming a better head or voice to reason with or listen to...what else do you want to see broken down before the inevitable happens? Infidelity, divorce, separation, loss of glitter and bond and irreversible loss of interest at home...wherever that is. 

You need to be seen to be interested in your partner, no matter how busy you are. Sometimes the proactive act is not an expensive one. For the hardware seller, it was only a salute...20 meters away from me; that was all it took for me to decide to buy from him. For you it could be a silly joke via Whatsapp....which friends forward to you and you forward to everyone but your partner. It it could be a two minute call. It could be keeping wake to dish his food out for him if for one of those days he come home late. It could be sitting and listening to her without judging when she comes home ranting and raving about work, much as you feel like putting corks in your ears and slipping into a timed-coma. Sometimes all you have to do to be visible is agreeing to cancel your schedule so you can be with them at their important moment if you know it is within your power to do it. It may be nothing that expensive... but it might end up being priceless. 

I try not to be too idealistic about many things. I try to be real. Being real is when you recognize that your partner is selfish the same way your colleague is selfish. They are all in for what will make them happy and would not hesitate to exchange you for someone who will makes them happy. Do you remember Peter gave up Jesus to save his skin? So do not be surprise when others see themselves beyond you. No one goes into anything that will inherently make them sad; everyone is drawn to pleasure and happiness, willing only to cope with pressure and pain when they know it is for a moment. 

Everyday you go to work, every time you see a colleague give off their best, it may be conscious or unconscious, but in the end, it is the top position they may have in mind and it is someone at the top who will eventually notice them and start giving them a closer watch. What do you have in mind when you go to work? Every day someone is being nice to your partner and going out of their way to be nice to them, it could be deliberate or not, but it is attention they are directing at themselves and sooner than you know, it will end up in... Our Moment-of-Weakness Story.... Our One-Bad-Mistake Story... Our Animal-Chemistry Story.... Our-Desire-To-Make-This-Permanent Story. It may not start with evil intention in mind, but will end with evil as the ultimate evidence.

In the end someone might say, but many things hold you together than just a small show of affection. After all, in my case, I did not have any emotional attachment to any of the hardware sellers when I got there, which made it easy for me to make a rational choice. You cannot say same for your relationship or marriage. I wish I can side with this view, but the truth is, when you have two people in your life, putting you at a place of confusion, what do you think will happen? One person might want to trap you with some pull factors; familiarity, children, family strings, and social barriers. The other person may also trap you with pull factors that appeal to your personal yearns; your desire to be loved, cared for, attended to, be given the optimum that is due you etc. And which one do you think works better? The social needs or the personal needs? 

In the end, your partner may stay to fulfill all social demands, but will surreptitiously crawl out in the dead of the night and gulp down to the brim, the personal needs that are available to him or her in a well situated in the fields outside of their own field.   

PG Sebastian
Copyrights 2013