Educated millionaire

While many around are banging their head on the wall of resolutions to get healthier, smarter and somewhat leaner, returning from Indonesia has opened my eyes even wider on facts I was unaware of before going. Do not worry, I will spare you all the events I witnessed there: some are too subjective to be shared, others would be better understood while there and then (how can one explain smells when not a poet, a scientist or a professional writer?). It is 2014 (well, in the Western world, at least), and it often means new things (beginnings, ideas, decisions, etc.). Having interacted with Westerners, travellers and others who have become locals there, I reconnected quite quickly, and abruptly, to the environment I had temporarily left behind.

Sure, it was a break from it all, yet I learned a lot there. B96 - Jayus - Wood pornNot from a book, or a classroom: rather from talking to cultural curators, spending time in museums, rice fields and around construction workers (I know), and long-term expats. No fantasy about the place (really, the island of Gods is not for everybody), yet the break was a good realisation on how much education eases any business relationship. And Bali is no different: as a tourist, almost everything is up for negotiation. Here go the skills I have developed and used in the corporate world, except this time, I am wearing flip-flops and carry millions (Indonesian Rupiahs) with me.

Learning about the Balinese social and business culture was an adjustment (and I only scratched the surface, obviously), fairly similar to the curve I go through with each client: how much do I not know / how much do they not know / how critical is the gap in doing business with them? I might be in the wrong on this, and I cannot recall having seen any literature on this: simply because most of the negotiations rely on the human connection, and, eventually, the relationship that one builds. This is not about computers or the university one went to and received an MBA from. It is about that fine line around awareness, the one for the other and the self.

Back to a so-called developed country, and I am hearing “I am not an IT person, so I prefer to print this document”. No judgement, just a little grind, and I offered to help, explain and show how we can avoid wasting paper (among other reasons). Still no interest expressed, and the will to shift and learn feels scary, apparently. So be it: I will adapt and tailor my services, no problem, and no joke (or maybe it is, like that Indonesian Jayus). Learning, constantly, inexorably and relentlessly exploring new sources and avenues to sense this world: this is another step.