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What Do You Wish for Your Worst Enemy?
I read somewhere—it might have been the Harvard Review, and because it holds more clout than People magazine, I’ll suggest it was there—that one of the downfalls of meeting on Zoom is that there are fewer possibilities for personal interaction. And we need that personal interaction to give us healthy lives. Whereas in real space and time, you can chat with someone before, after, or even during a meeting, there is no way to do so on a Zoom call.
One of their recommendations was to start the meeting with a question for everyone to answer. And, create dialog around the answers. We have a new marketing team for a client that started meeting once a week, and I decided to try it out on the group. In the first meeting, I began by saying: "Tell us something about you that might surprise us." The participants had great responses and I learned interesting things that I would never have suspected. It worked. And when I spoke on the phone with a member of the team later that day, I referenced again what she said about herself. Win win.
This past week I opened with the following question: "You have one thing you can wish for your archnemesis. What would you give them?"
I went first after the stunned faces on the screen said they needed time to marinate. I also went first because I loved my answer. "I would give them the ability to know what other people are thinking when they are speaking.” I liked my answer because if I don’t like someone, I assume others don’t either. Making sure such persons know what others are thinking as they speak would shake their unsuspecting belief that everyone thinks they are swell. This might even make them change perhaps?
Four women went next. I should say they are a lot younger than me. Just-out-of-college younger. One said, "I would give them a different childhood so they would not be who they became.” Another, "I would give them empathy." And so it went. The generosity on the room was eye-opening. One person came to my rescue. “You are all so nice. I’m with Christine. Bury them.” Bless her; she is my new favorite.
But it shook me. Not in a life altering way, but more in a 'who the hell am I’ way. Am I such a bitter, damaged person that I wish the worst on everyone? Is the 'be kind' mantra coming back to haunt me? I wrote a piece recently about the absurdity of that statement. Could I have been wrong?
Then I thought I might be able to blame it on gender. We are nurturers—we women—or so we are told. What if there were men answering? What would they say?
I went to ask my neighbors. She immediately answered, “I would give the person herpes.” Bless her. But he said, “I would give them a hug.” Ixnay on gender as the culprit. I am always disappointed when I can't blame it on men.
I will not spend more time pondering the ramifications of people's answers to this game changing question. I have other things to ponder as I search to find my best self. Another day, another chance to excel.