Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Matchbox Value

Ramesh said, “I’ve this movie running in my mind. It just runs again and again and it depresses me!”
“What kind of movie is this?”, asked the Psychologist
“Its an incident that happened in the past, an embarrassing moment”
‘Negative Self talk’, the psychologist scribbled in a piece of paper.
The Psychologist smiled, “Run that movie for me”
“I was walking around with my plates in hand, it’s a party hosted by my company. I suddenly slipped and fell into a heap of used plates, my clothes got soiled, I hear laughter, I decide to not to see anyone. I slowly.. carefully got up .. and…. my foot slipped again and I fell for the second time... this time onto the adjoining lawn. A group of ladies standing nearby burst into laughter and others joined the fun.
“People thought that I was drunk and from then on time and again I am accused of being drunk and out of control. Even in office people just wait for me to fumble and then mock at me.”
The Psychologist was still scribbling something in his paper, he looked at Ramesh empathetically
Ramesh exclaimed, “I am actually a teetotaller!”
The Psychologist asked, “When this incident happened?”
“Many years ago!”
“Do people still mock at you?”
“No no that teasing died after some months and many of my colleagues have moved on. But another problem came..”
“The movie!”
“Yes! It just keeps on playing and my embarrassment, my fear that it might happen again just increases each time its played. Please tell me, what should I do in this condition?”, asked Ramesh
“Lets say that I ask you to buy me a Matchbox from the nearby shopkeeper and he sells it for Rs 10. What would you do?”
“I will not buy. The Matchbox is much cheaper. I will look out for shops which sells the Matchbox for the correct price”, replied Ramesh
The Psychologist laughed, “We are good in determining the value for even mundane things like Matchbox, but when it comes to real incident, are we really rational enough to give it the correct value”
Ramesh’s eyes became wide open and his jaws dropped. The Psychologist continued, “If anybody taunts or hurts you…any incident happens to you, just ask yourself how much value you are going to give it, how long are you going to brood over it. Once decided give it only that much. When the negative self talk runs again just remember that its not worth it. You are overpaying for a matchbox!”
From that day on Ramesh started carrying a matchbox. Whenever he felt the negative self talk movie running in his head, he took the matchbox from his pocket and gave it a stern look. Sometimes in an air of excitement, he would burn a matchstick. He calls it, “The Matchstick Value”