I don’t know if this would work in India. Maybe it wouldn’t work with everybody. It could surely work with more people than one would think. For the funny thing is, despite all evidence to the contrary, Indians are honest more frequently than not. Unfortunately- and typically- the dishonest have center stage and are seen and heard, while sincere people live their honest lives in public silence.
Would an Indian debt collecting agency ever dare take this risk? I don’t know.
With that, my mind went off into a tangent. It veered away from debt collection entirely and froze upon the thought- somewhat like taking a diamond out of a setting to see if it can shine as brightly in another setting. Turns out, it does!
The principle behind this debt- collecting company is Empathy.
Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experience of another without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
The debt collecting company understand that someone in financial difficulties needs a helping hand to get them back on their feet- without it being communicated. They understand that people are in difficulties not because they are unprincipled ruffians but honest, hard- working people who have received a setback. To treat a person in a way that helps them retain their self- respect and reinforces their dignity is what this debt collecting company does.
Can this principle be applied to other interactions we have? With co-workers, family members, children? Can we choose empathy and gentleness instead of brow beating? Can we give a leg up instead of criticizing and censuring someone who is already down in the dumps? Is it difficult to treat people with respect so that you don’t violate their dignity?
Debt collecting companies are known to be tough and unsympathetic. Money is the only language they understand. Threat, intimidation and coercion are their alphabets. Yet, one company chose to break the mold. If a debt collecting company can do it, why can’t we make the effort to find resonance with those who interact with us?
When someone makes a mistake, specially a major blooper, chances are that they are already feeling awful. They are probably trudging wearily to the hardware store to buy a stout hook on which to hang themselves. They’d never let themselves off the hook, why don’t we do it for them?
Can we do this today? Will you? Will I?