A few week's back, I was invited by IBM to attend a 3D 2N training program at Pullman Hotel, Putrajaya - It's My Business: Leading Change through T.O.P. It was a fun experience, and as per other similar training programme, days were packed with lots of activities started as early as 7am (the toughest one!!) and ended at 10pm..
1 of the activities during the program was "Reject Shop".. The game was simple.. Each of us had a cardboard stick on our back with a certain statement on it. Nobody is made aware of their own statement. We were required to play for 10 rounds. The objective is in each round, we need to form a partnership of 2 or more with each other and if combination of our statement is true, we got + points, - points if we don't. Further - points if we end up alone (i.e. fail to make any partner) in each round. The twist of this game was, we can't communicate verbally to each other.
OK.. I had no idea what was on my back and so as everybody else, except that we can look at what was on other's back. So the 1st round started. 1 of the first few person's back that I looked stated "Accept me in all rounds".. He already got a partner with him stated "Accept me if I'm older". Since that other person was also obviously older than me, I nodded eagerly towards them giving a signal that I can accept them. But then he had a look at my back and geleng his head. oooh.. potential successful partnership ruined. I was so disappointed. I said to myself, "Lucky him". I can imagine that people will be lining up to be his partner. I got closer to some people I know. 1 of them is Mira.. what she had on her back was.. "Reject me if I'm beautiful". I glanced at her face 1 time.. think..and glanced again at her face..Damnn.. she is beautiful. So, I 'honestly', rejected her. I went to another person, and what she had was "Reject me if you're taller than me". She's practically 1 of the smallest in the group. which made me automatically taller than her. So, I rejected her. Time is ticking, and I can't find any suitable partner yet. It's not that simple after all eh?.. Not to wasting any more time..I went to another person, and he had "Reject me if I'm holding a pencil". I didn't even have to think harder for this one. Immediately, I rejected him. Why? Since, we were given a pencil and a piece of paper to jot our marks in each round. So all of us, obviously was holding a piece of paper and a pencil. duh... 1st round ended not long after..I end up partner-less in the 1st round. I told myself, "No way, I will be able to win this..huhuhu" (me in my competitive mode.. wanting to win everything..hehehe).
Game continues.. I play the same way I was in the previous. Reading cardboard on people's back and make a decision whether they can be my partner or not. At the same time, others will read mine and 'signaled' their decision. After awhile, I realised something. If that person is wearing a watch, he/she will have the "Reject me if I'm wearing a watch". If that person is the tallest in the group, he/she will have the "Reject me if I'm taller than you". If that person is a happy-go-lucky type, he/she will have the "Reject me if I'm always smiling". Then, there's some people who got statement like "Reject me in ALL rounds" or "Reject me if you like me". How cruel is that? I was like.. what the F??!!.. they (I mean the facilitator people) purposely stick certain statement to a certain people, so that people will automatically/ will always be rejected.. The game started to bore me.. I neither not able to accept people nor be accepted. I played a few rounds partner-less. It's sucks to be rejected especially when you didn't know the reason why.
The facilitator actually noticed that I was 1 of some that consistently partner-less. He kept saying.
"If you're still end up with no partner, that's mean you're not playing with your head and you're not playing with your heart". I keep looking at him every time he said that. Knowing that, he'll repeat his statement to my face too. Maybe my usual 'blur' face gave him the impression that I still didn't get what he was saying. Or... just maybe, he was trying to help me to get a grasp on what I should do. Head and heart..Head..Brain...Think. OK. Got that 1.. Heart.. Heart...OK. It's related to Feelings...Feel..So, it's Think and Feel. I need to think harder and feel deeper..
After I finally switched on my bimbo brain.. I start to understand the game and start making my partnership, only after Round 5 ya people. Feels like such a fool. Halfway through, then baru tau how to play.. haiiyah.. Since I already know who has what on their back. I know who should I go to or when. And other people started to accept me as well. Started to accept me in their little partnership. It was fun again. I'm getting a few +ve marks here n there and less -ve amount than before. Maybe they too were bluurr like I was too.. hehehehe..
After finished with the 10 rounds, we gathered and had our reflection/ discussion moment. Of course, the objective is to relate the activity to the reality environment at work. Does it happen at work? what we have understand out of it? how we should address it? How that relate to personal leadership? and so on.. While we were all discussing and talking about it, deep inside I felt like as if the game had exposed me. When I failed to make a partnership with anybody in the 1st few rounds, I did took it to heart. At the end of each game, the facilitator will asked, "Who's alone?". When I hold my hand up, I did feel sad..really feel sad about it..Just coincidentally, in the real world I'm also partner-less, you see. SINGLE. No partner. Not just for a few rounds, as in this game.. but a few years!!! It hit me. I feel like I was getting a smack on my face. Ouch!! I was like.. " Not that just I'm single in real life.. I struggled to form partnership in a bloody game too???"
hahahah.. I can laugh at it now.. and think it was silly. What I felt was funny, I think.. But at that time, I can't help but wonder..maybe.. maybe not only maybe.. that's how I live my life... that's how I handled my relationship matters. That's why I'm still single. I've been playing "Reject Shop" all along. Like how I was in the 1st few rounds. As if all the guys I ever met and known have a sticker on their back. "Reject me if I'm too good looking"... "Reject me if I was your friend's ex-es"... "Reject me if your friend fancy me"... "Reject me if I'm not Muslim"... "Reject me if I'm younger than you"... "Reject me if my mom loves me"... "Reject me if I'm not funny"... "Reject me if I don't play football"... "Reject me if I can't sing"..."Reject me if I'm fairer than you".. and so on and so on.. you know? like...you have a certain criterias, some of which maybe silly and shallow even.. So, when you met anybody, know a little fact about him, then bam!!! you didn't think and feel further. Straight-away.. you gave the "no, i'm not interested-you're not what i'm looking for-you and I are not compatible" signal.
Again, what the facilitator said to all of us in the game keep repeating in my mind. I questioned myself..
I'm single because I do not think with my brain and I do not feel with my heart? hmm.. I have no such answer to that yet. hmm.. maybe I do but still in denial?? Who knows?? hahahah..I feel that, in the context of that activity, yes, having a partner is better than being alone regardless if both party met each others condition or not (i.e. you're getting better marks). However, in real life, I think, it's not necessarily better that for the sake of having a partner, you just accept whoever that came along your way. That's what I feel. But I may be wrong. This perception is what had made me where I am today, rite? As if, I'm not playing the "Reject Shop" the right way with my brain and heart and all..hehehe.... It's time for THINK and FEEL. Then..... CHANGE!!!