Imagine that we’re all on one side of a giant river. We need to get across the river. We don’t know how to do that, so we wait for someone to come along and offer us a service to get over there. We’ve got a problem, and we’ll pay someone to solve it for us.
One day, someone comes to meet you. They’re excited, you’ve got some cargo to move across the river, and they know they can help. Right away, though, you see there’s a problem.
“We’ve got the perfect thing to ship your cargo,” they say.
“Oh, yeah?” you ask.
“It’s a sailboat! It’s super fast. You’ll get to the other side of the river in a jiffy.”
“I have an elephant,” you say. “Your sailboat is only twelve feet long. My elephant isn’t going to fit on your sailboat.”
“Oh. We didn’t know that you had an elephant.”
“That’s fine,” you say, “I’ll find someone else with a barge.”
“You can’t, we only built a sailboat. You’ll have to figure out how to get your elephant on our sailboat.”
You know that’s not going to work at all. “What am I supposed to do? Cut up my elephant? I’m pretty sure that your sailboat isn’t the only way to get across the river.”
“We didn’t know you had elephants. This is really bad.”
“It’s not my fault you didn’t ask if I had elephants. I’ll find a barge.”
“There aren’t any, and there shouldn’t be any, anyways. We built a sailboat! This is the best way.”
It’s really hard to talk to people or solve problems with them, if they think there’s only one way to solve something. Even worse if they’ve already built that something. Their ego is tied up with what they’ve made. If the thing that they built is wrong in some way, then they’re wrong in some way. The human ego has a real hard time with that.
So, who in your life/work/relationship is trying to get you to buy their sailboat?
An even better question:
Are you the one trying to sell people a sailboat?