Vulcans Need Not Apply

Whenever you have a plan or proposal that requires interaction with others, it invariably has its first encounter with the emotions of the other parties. That's because by default, people tend to consider their own hopes and fears first, and that's an emotional experience.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, due to a complete lack of exposure to 1960s sci-fi classics or the fact that you've been sharing a cave with Elvis for the past few decades, a Vulcan is a fictional race of humanoids, doubtless thought up by stressed out screen writers after one glass of Romulan ale too many. How do I know that Vulcans are fictional? Easy. They're a planet of human look-alikes (pointy ears notwithstanding) who live by the code of logic and display no emotion. Completely logical humans, who never make stupid, emotional decisions or outbursts? Yeah, right. Pour me some of that Romulan ale, buddy.

It doesn't matter what goals you pursue in life. To get your plan from point A to point B, sooner or later, you're going to have to deal with people. They're everywhere. I was actually going to observe that you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one, but then I thought of the hours of explanation I'd have to offer to our friendly Vulcan friendss as to why that was funny. I know, I know. The cats wouldn't be amused, either. This is why there are no comedy clubs on planet Vulcan. Well, that and the fact that Vulcans probably don't drink, either.

Nonetheless, we humans are known to hoist a cold one from time to time, and mindless, inappropriate and downright silly antics are sure to ensue. However, if you think people need to get tipsy in order to become emotional,, irrational, and every other -al word you can think ofdownright stupid, rest assured, this behavior comes as standard equipment. This is a very important consideration any time your goals and plans run the risk of coming into contact with one or more of the human race.

To better understand how it is that people are almost uniquely gifted in the universe when it comes to screwing up the best laid plans of mice, men, women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri (also known as Tribbles), let's take a closer look at the basic components.

In their simplest form, people are a combination of mental, physical and emotional attributes, mixed in a wide variety of proportions. The physical part is easy enough to understand. It's what stands in line at the super duper roller coaster while the emotions ask the mental exactly what they were thinking. No, for the most part, the physical is off the hook when it comes to corporate follies.

The mental aspects get much more exercise in the business world. In fact, these are the guys who do the work of coming up with all those best laid plans. A, and for the record, a fine job they do. The only problem is that the mental facilities aren't usually on speaking terms with the emotional, and that's where it all starts to go south.

Whenever you have a plan or proposal that requires interaction with others, it invariably has its first encounter with the emotions of the other parties. That's because by default, people tend to think of consider themselves their own hopes and fears first, and that's an emotional experience.

How much work will this create for them? Will it interfere with their plans for a raise or promotion? Are they going to look stupid if they can't deliver on their end? Does it pose a threat to any of their turf or status? How much stress will it put them under?

If you're not already emotionally drained from all these questions, you'll quickly see that each and every idea that you come up with can be an highly emotionally charged, hand wringing experience for others. Consequently, even if they speak in even, measured tones, you need to expect reactions based not solely on logic, but also on emotion and self interest. If you ignore the emotional, petty and human side of the equation, all the logic in the world won't save your plan from disaster.

So plan logically, and plan often. But never forget that you're dealing with people. Remember, Vulcans are fictional. Your coworkers aren't.

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