Weakness or Strength?A student works at a freight forwarding company in the port of Hamburg, Germany. It is of a rather slim nature. First, he loads his truck full of heavy crates, only to end up unloading them on his own, without any technical help, in the port of Hamburg. As he delivers, he is watched by two tall and powerfully built dockworkers, grinning as they await the unloading process. Surely it will give them some pleasure to watch how our student will struggle.
The student skillfully addresses the behavior. He tugs at the boxes with a strained face, as if he can barely move them. The dockworkers then take pity: "Step aside, kid, we'll show you how it's done," and, proud to show off their strength, unload first two, then three, and finally all eight crates, while the student does not hold back in praise and admiration. In this story, everyone won. Certainly no one lost.
Power against words or: The power of words
I had an experience a few years ago that is deeply etched in my memory. As you know, the more emotionally charged an event is, the more securely it remains part of our lifelong memory. I was driving my car within a "30 speed zone". Find me a parking spot across the street. They are the kind of parking spaces that are arranged at a 90-degree angle like the prongs of a comb on the street. I checked to see if the oncoming lane was clear (since I had to cross it), almost parked when a vehicle in the oncoming lane just beside me did a full stop. The shock was deep, as I had made sure that the lane was really clear. As the driver turned right out of a junction (with a good view at least to the left and full throttle) onto the main road, 20 meters further on everyone was completely surprised by the other one.
Now I parked, the driver of the other car however drove full throttle and another "hot" skid mark into one of the other available parking spaces. As I was getting out and over When I saw the car, I was horrified: the driver was raving and raging so violently that I assumed he decided to take a short "break" because of me and the fact that I had brought him to a stop.
The scenes that followed must have taken place in seconds, my sense of time was certainly distorted in the state of acute threat. Man jumped out of the car, shouted loudly in my direction, unfolded his full size and ran right at me. His physique made me clearly see that he invested several hours a day in building up his muscles.
In a flash the thought of escape came to my mind, but it was already too late. He was running much too fast for that. At this moment, I finally dared to "flee to the front", mustered up all my courage, ran toward him as well, and spoke to him in an unmistakable manner: "I can hardly believe that you reacted so lightning-fast. I have not experienced such a brilliant reaction at all yet. If you had not braked so brilliantly, something would have happened for sure. I suppose the cars would be junk, let alone the two of us. Are you a stuntman by profession, who can match his powers with his senses so perfectly? It is impossible to learn that. I can only thank you. Thank you for probably saving our lives. Thank you for reacting with lightning speed and presence of mind. Thank you, thank you."
I just ignored the fact that he was upset and pissed off. I kept on talking, because I knew that I would not have had a good chance in a "trial of strength" against him. When I was finished with my speech, to be on the safe side, I started again from the beginning and repeated my own words with the same commitment.
The man stood rigidly and almost motionless in front of me, he rowed his hands some more, remained silent, looked me slightly confused in the eyes, finally turned around and said somewhat quietly: "Please". Shaking his head, he now went to his car, disappeared in it and continued his journey. He was surprised by my reaction. Possibly he was not prepared for me to thank him. But what would have happened if we had blamed each other for the situation?? Even today, what good is the illusion that I was in the right??