I just finished a book, Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh (pronounced SHAY) who happens to be the 24-year-old multimillionaire CEO of online shoe and clothing shop Zappos.com. We’ll be posting the book review in the very near future.
However, in reading the book and doing some additional research on the author, I discovered something rather baffling about the human psyche. Actually, I’ve witnessed this anomaly for years, and yet it continues to mystify me.
After my recent research, I’m ready to place Tony Hsieh into a unique category with some pretty impressive company. That category would include such notable characters as: Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Jack Welch, Jim Collins, Lee Iacocca, Meg Whitman, Peter Drucker, President Obama, Ross Perot, Rush Limbaugh, Barbara Walters, Sam Walton, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, and Wayne Dyer, to name just a few.
Have you determined what these people have in common? It has nothing to do with career choices, religious preferences, political beliefs, age, color or creed. It’s true, they’re all educated, experienced, talented, accomplished, creative and outspoken. However, there’s something else.
In the arena of public opinion, each of those noted above fall into one of two categories. They are loved or despised (viewed with contempt)! It’s true. Very few, if any, would say they simply like these people. Each of them fall very solidly into one category or the other.
Sadly, there’s a major drawback to pigeonholing people. Let’s take a look at a harsh reality. Pick someone from the list above that you truly admire. If you’re like the majority of people in today’s society, you will have an inclination to believe everything that person says and does.
Now choose a name from that list that you might despise. In this case, you will have a tendency to believe absolutely nothing that person says or does. Therein lies the problem.
- We must strive to change our thinking here.
- No one is always right.
- No one is always wrong.
- The same holds true for religions, political parties, and business organizations.
- There may be a great deal to learn from someone you may not admire or agree with.
- And you shouldn’t necessarily believe and/or agree with everything simply because you hear it from someone you do admire and respect.
Take the case of Tony Hsieh. Here’s a young man with an impressive background, successful track record, and a creative mind who has created an empire built on great products, good prices, and an unequaled culture of customer service.
My research revealed that he has a fantastic following of employees, vendors, clients and business professionals who wholeheartedly believe in Tony, his philosophy, and everything he’s accomplished. They believe he’s a charismatic leader who has his best days ahead of him and, in the meantime, can do no wrong.
My research also revealed a good number of people who view this young man as a flippant, self-centered, cult leader who came from an extremely privileged background which paved his way to a snooty high school and then on to Harvard. Therefore, his entire career was handed to him on a silver platter. He’s too close to his employees and treats them all as though they were fellow partygoers.
My point is this. I believe there may be some truth in both sides of this story … as there is in so many other scenarios in today’s world. Our challenge is to look at every person and organization we come into contact with and seek out the useful information which may assist us in achieving our personal goals. Most everyone has something to offer us. We must not turn a deaf ear to this information because we don’t approve of the source.
On the other hand, don’t make the sometimes fatal mistake of believing that someone is 100% correct on every issue for the simple reason that we approve of the person and/or organization as an infallible source.
Look for the good, ignore all else. The value you’ll receive will be priceless.