O’s Success Tips: Always Look At The Bigger Picture

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“No service charge!” he exclaimed loudly.  By this time another police car had pulled into the driveway and a second officer was already making his way towards the front door. It was like a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie; flashing lights, cops cars and a young black kid yelling vehemently at the top of his voice, “no service charge!”

That young black kid was me on the evening of July 7th, 2008.

My morning started out like any normal day, heading to work down the busy roads of Houston. My main goal that day was to finally fix the stifling heat problem that plagued my bedroom. It was a simple duct tear that needed fixing. I had tried to postpone it but the unbearable Texas heat was slowly taking its toll on me.  I picked up the daily classified ads catalogue for the week and went straight to the the residential-contractor section. There must have been a dozen ads but none of them fit my criteria of being both “cheap and affordable.” After glancing through the catalogue for a couple more minutes, my eyes rested on an ad that read:

AirMasters
A/C and Heating
All Brand and Models
No Service Charge on
Evenings and Weekends

Perfect. No service charge. I was ecstatic. I picked up the phone and immediately dialed the AIRMASTERS office scheduling an EVENING appointment after work.

At exactly 7:00 pm, a contractor arrived and proceeded to inspect my entire duct system in search of my heating problem. After roughly an hour, the contractor emerged from my attic with a simple diagnosis, “your entire system has to be replaced.” I had heard that response before.  It was the same response that deceptive contractors and mechanics gave right before they ripped you off!

“How much would it cost to replace the system?” I asked quietly.

“$15,000.” he responded.

Maybe it was my skeptical laughter or my feigned attempt at seriousness that offended him. Whatever it was, he quickly realized that I did not believe his $15000-entire-system-replacement diagnosis. I promptly informed him that I was not interested in replacing my entire system. In response, he politely nodded his head and proceeded to leave the house. But, just as he got to the front door, he turned around and said “you owe me a service charge.”

“Service charge?” I responded, obviously confused “but your ad clearly states no service charge.”

And then he responded, with the words that would completely drive me over the edge, “pay the f#$##@# money or I’ll call f#$##@# cops. And that’s how it happened. Within 30 minutes, my entire house was surrounded with cop cars and curious neighbors.

The next 48 hours would prove extremely hectic, as I battled venomously between the police department and AirMasters contractors over the controversial service charge. Almost every hour I was either scanning, faxing or emailing one document after the other. All the time driven by an intense and stressful anger that would only subside over a simple moment…It was the last document I had to fax, a carbon copy of the service charge check I was forced to pay to AirMasters on the evening of the incident. As I stood at the fax machine about to hit the “send” button, I noticed the amount neatly written on the check. Thirty dollars!

“A meager thirty dollars was the reason I spent half of my day faxing and frustrated?”

Somehow I had let my anger blind me from the bigger picture, thirty dollars was not worth all that stress. It was at that moment that I let go of the entire incident, walking away from the fax machine with a smile and sense of inner relief.

Everyday we are faced with moments that test our patience. However, the issue is never about the moment itself but rather our reaction to the moment. Do we get carried away and allow the anger drive us or do we separate ourselves from the situation and instead let our logic guide us? For 48 hours I allowed my anger drive me, thus pushing myself to stressful state. But the instant I let go of my emotions I was able to see the triviality of the situation. So the next time you are on the brink of an emotional outburst ask yourself the question “is it really worth the stress?”

Okechukwu Ofili
Africa’s #1 Success Coach
Copyright © 2009 Ofili Speaks, Inc. All rights reserved

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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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