“It’s the Principle of the Thing!”

I cannot even count the times in my life when I’ve said “It’s the principle of the thing!”  Whenever I utter this statement, I’m usually in the middle of some controversy where I continue to try to prove my point.  Most commonly, I’m on the phone with a company that I do business with, whether a utility company, mortgage company, or one of the many different companies through which I’ve made purchases.  I’ve spent my life thinking that it was important to prove to someone else how things should be.

However, my deep dive into how energy works has made me rethink this entire effort.  Tony Robbins has said “where focus goes, energy flows.”  This tells me that if I am focused on conflict, that I will waste energy on that conflict, and, based on the Law of Attraction, will subsequently attract more conflict.  Over the past year, I’ve intentionally refrained from extending any discussions merely for “the principle of the thing.”  I’m happy to report, that things work out much more smoothly for me than in my past.

I saw evidence of this play out last week with someone I know.  This person decided to pay two bills.  On the first one, he was prompted to enter something that was not applicable to what he was trying to do.  He opted to speak to a representative, and attempted to pay the bill with the representative.  That transaction did not go very well, as he was transferred from the first representative, to the next representative (who was supposedly going to be able to handle the payment), but after almost an hour wait in the queue, he learned he had to be transferred to another team.  Just before that hour-long queue wait was up, he used a second phone to call the corporate number to complain about the experience and attempt to find someone to just take his payment.  He then had two calls going at the same time, and lost the corporate call when the second representative finally answered the call.  I heard a lot of frustration, and understandably so.  It is reasonable to expect that one could pay their bill within just a few minutes and without a lot of call transfers and escalations.  However, that extended focus on the conflict may cause more harm to ourselves than to anyone to whom we might be trying to prove a point.

When that first bill was finally paid, he attempted to pay the second bill.  The exact same thing happened with the other bill, which was a completely different company (one was a credit company, the second was a utility company).  That attempt to pay the bill also ended in an escalation to “corporate” and although I do not know the exact issues that occurred on that call, I do know that it was not a smooth transaction and was very similar to the first experience, although not as long of a transaction.

While I noticed this use of energy to focus on conflict, I chose not to comment on it.  However, the very next day, I just had the opposite experience with something that could have understandably been more difficult to resolve.  For me, it was a very quick and easy transaction.  This drew my attention back to the conflict I had witnessed the previous day, recognizing the value of focusing on the solution and not the conflict.  My transaction was about a package that had been reported as delivered a week prior, although I had never received it.  I had no interest in complaining about the missing package, I was simply focused on getting a new one shipped, and that was all that happened on that call.  The call was 6 minutes long, and that included me going through the prompt to hear about my order, and that it had been delivered, then requesting the system transfer me to a representative, which came with about a 15 second hold, then that representative took my order information, looked it up, saw the status of delivered, marked it as a lost package, put in another order for me, upgraded it to 2-day shipping (at no charge).  All of that was a 6 minute call.  It was a great reminder that it is better to focus on what you want, and not what you don’t want.  Focus on conflict and what is wrong will only bring more conflict.  I’ve found everything is easier when I avoid engaging in conflict simply for the sake of “the principle of the thing.”

Things to consider:

  1. How often do  you find yourself in conflict over “the principle of the thing?”
  2. How do you feel during and after those interactions?
  3. What might you do differently to ease your interactions in the future?