The Perception Games
Once a young man meets a well-traveled man. The traveler tells him great tales of his explorations and talks about a country that had no onions. “No onions!” exclaims the man, “How can anyone enjoy the true pleasure of food without onions?”
Without further thought, he buys onions, fills his cart, and sets his journey towards this whimsical land of no onions. After several days, he arrives in this faraway land. He quickly makes his way to the palace, where the guards are so fascinated by the weird cargo that they allow him to meet the King. “I bring you a great gift from my country,” he proudly announces, “This plant has a unique ability to enhance the flavor of any food.” The Emperor is initially skeptical, but he allows him to prepare some delicacies using the onions.
The man uses all his culinary skills to prepare the best feast the King’s court has ever had. The aroma and the taste of the food are praised by all. The King thanks him and pays him the equivalent in gold for the entire batch of onions.
On his journey home, the man meets a trader and shares his magnificent story of a land where gold was worth less than onions. He also tells the trader that the country did not have garlic either. Upon learning this, the trader is excited and thinks he can replicate the young man’s success by introducing garlic to the country. “Garlic is definitely more flavorful and aromatic! If they are bartering gold for onions there, I am sure garlic would be worth its weight in diamonds,” the trader dreams.
The enterprising trader buys huge bags of garlic and starts his journey. Since the kingdom is recently overjoyed by the introduction of the onions, they welcome the idea of trying garlic. The trader prepares several tasty dishes. As he expected, the garlic received even more praise than the onions. The Emperor concludes the gold is not enough for such delicious food. So he decides to reward him with the most precious thing he has to offer. What can be more precious than gold? Onions!
Our perception doesn’t always match the other person’s reality. And that mismatch in our alternate realities is why we often feel short-changed in our personal and business relationships. Those who work on bridging this perception vs reality gap in their relationships are destined to roll in preciousness.