Reaching Midlife Bachelor Equilibrium
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Use the Midlife Bachelor Experience to Grow as a Person
Self analysis and understanding are obviously critical to personal growth – both inside and outside the context of midlife bachelorhood. As we go through all of the various midlife bachelor experiences – we can leverage our accumulated self-knowledge into other areas of our life, and use it to grow as a person overall. What the hell am I talking about, you ask? Well – becoming a midlife bachelor in many cases takes you out of your established comfort zone … it forces you to venture “outside of your box”. What you learn as you experiment with the various new midlife bachelor scenarios and interactions might just help you in other ways you did not expect. The social and conversational skills you acquire or improve upon as a midlife bachelor might have positive effects on, say, how you do your job at work. For example, as a sales manager, I am routinely required to talk with customers about fairly non-important everyday things as we wait for a meeting to begin, or as we walk somewhere. I recall that as a young salesman, I had a lot of difficulty with small talk, but over the years I’ve gotten much better at it. And I would definitely say that all of the dating experiences I’ve had has improved my ability to talk about everyday things. Last year, I recall one of my new young salesmen employees told me that he was amazed at how I have the ability to literally talk to anyone about anything. I never really thought about it until he pointed it out – but it is true to a large extent. What I’m saying here is that the conversational skills that I in part acquired as a midlife bachelor have helped make me more effective at work.
Here’s a slightly more fun example of how I learned to leverage my midlife bachelor dating experiences and lessons into something positive during a challenging situation at work. We’ve all had crazy, screaming girlfriends who make a big fuss – they yell at us, try to fight with us … they try to push or control us by using wild behavioral tactics. If you have not learned so by now, the worst thing you can do when you find yourself confronted by such a psychotic crazy woman is to lock horns with her. Yelling back is analogous to throwing gasoline on a fire – it causes an even bigger disaster. Even though I don’t always practice what I’m about to preach – I’ve found that the best approach to a crazy woman is to just stay calm, and work your way through her psychotic episode by maintaining your composure, and keeping your half of the discussion on-track and as mutually-beneficial as possible. Eventually the crazy woman will either calm down, or storm out – but either way, you are still in control and at peace with the universe.
How did coming to know this benefit me at work? Well roughly two years ago, I found myself in the office of a senior-level female purchasing manager for one of our larger customers in San Diego. One of my experienced but younger salesmen was with me – and he had told me that this woman wanted to discuss giving them a blanket across-the-board discount … because she knew they purchased a large dollar value of products from us in the previous year. Everything in life is relative – and although the large dollar amount they purchased was certainly nothing to sneeze at, it was not considered an extraordinarily huge amount. Plus the policy of the company I work for is to grant discounts only as a function of the purchase of a quantity of something. In other words, it matters little what an account did last year – discounts are granted on what they purchase in quantity right now. If they were to give me an order for a quantity of something … if that something is in the quantity range one through nine, then they pay list price. If that quantity is in the range of ten through nineteen, then they are granted a small but specific discount. If that quantity is twenty through forty-nine, then the discount increases, etc. We treat every customer the same – and that ensures ethical and uniform pricing across America. When madam purchasing executive asked me for the blanket discounts, I carefully and politely explained our discounting policies. The next thing I know, this woman is screaming and yelling at me from across the table, … saying that they’ll take their business elsewhere if I don’t agree to a discount, and barking out examples of other unrelated vendors who do grant them blanket discounts. My younger salesman was in shock – you could see it on his face.
After this bitch finished barking, I calmly talked her through everything again – explaining that we have existing contracts with the federal government that prevent us from granting indiscriminate discounts. I also explained how our products are not commodities like cables … but they are unique technical solutions with very specific technical advantages that her engineers understand extremely well. In other words, I let her know that I understood that she could not just stop purchasing from us – and I suggested that she discuss with her engineers the cost-benefit advantages of our gear over some of the other competing technical approaches out there. How did the meeting end? Well – she was still unhappy, but at least she stopped behaving like a jilted teenage girl. No – they did not get their blanket discount. Yes – that company continued to purchase from us in volume (without ever missing a beat). So by keeping a cool head, and taking a nice, rational approach to the crazy woman – everything turned out fine. All of those years of listening to women in my life yell at me finally benefited me financially!
Yet another great example of using midlife bachelorhood experiences as a philosophical basis for personal growth comes from my whole erectile dysfunction experience. Recall (from the section entitled "Erectile Dysfunction - Suddenly the Man You Once Were is not the Man You Are Now") that when my ugly problem of E.D. originally surfaced, the very first thing I did was find that quick-fix clinic? The terrible truth concerning that clinic was that although it offered an instant solution for the symptom of the problem, it really didn’t address the root cause … plus the treatment was about as extreme as anything I can still imagine. Recall that I then took a step back, and re-evaluated how I was approaching the problem – and decided to go and at least discuss it with my family doctor … which is what I should have done to begin with. THE LESSON IN LIFE I LEARNED was – the quickest fix to a particular problem is not necessarily the best solution. Sometimes in life it is better to pause and take a step back – consider all options, and then make a wise decision with the longer-term in mind. I never imagined that the E.D. experience would help me grow as a person, but it definitely has. The midlife bachelor equilibrium in this case lies in my recognition of this philosophical lesson.
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