It’s called Menchie’s. Ever heard of it? It’s the veritable Disneyland of frozen yogurt experiences.
My kids, ages 9 and 4, love it. If a treat’s to be had, then the clamor is for Menchie’s. I want to be a good father and say yes to going, but therein lies the tension ….
I hate the place.
See, I watch what I eat, but Menchie’s isn’t conducive to careful eating. It’s set up buffet style. They hand you a tub as you walk in, and you dispense all the confectionary crack you can hold from a rack of soft swirl machines. They weigh your order at the cash register. You pay by the pound.
I like places where you can talk comfortably, but Menchie’s is “kid-friendly.” Translation: noisy as a grade school cafeteria at lunchtime.
I’m also a germophobe. The last time I went, the kid ahead of me stuck his boogered hand in the chocolate sauce on the extras rack, licked his fingers clean, then did it again. I know how kids work. He wasn’t the first.
My frustration surfaces a greater principle—one that affects us all in various areas, and one we can learn from if we examine it closely.
The principle is about how we evaluate.
The problem is that we’ve only ever been taught one way to evaluate—by personal preference. If something is liked, then all is well. But if something is disliked, then it stinks.
That method of evaluation, if it’s the only method of evaluation we know and use, causes problems. Why?
Because personal preferences conflict with other people’s personal preferences.
· At your work. Your boss tells you to do things you don’t want to do. So you disagree, and tension flares.
· At your church. You hate hymns, but that’s all your music director wants to sing. Or you hate the new jazzy stuff, but that’s all your church ever does. So you complain, and people complain back.
· In your family. Your wife loves running but you don’t.
So what’s the solution?
Enter an additional method of evaluation:
Scrap evaluating only by preference.
Adopt evaluating also by purpose.
Evaluating by purpose doesn’t override the principle of evaluating based on preferences. But it gives you a larger and more empathetic perspective to see by.
Purpose means you ask questions like,
· What’s this designed to do?
· What’s the vision behind this?
· What do a whole group of people need, (not just me)?
For instance, when you evaluate by purpose, you can see that your job is designed to bring value to your company, not just to make you feel good.
Or you see how your church’s music program is probably designed so a whole age range of people can worship, people with wildly varying personal preferences in music. Sure, there’s compromise involved.
Or you see how one function of your family is that everybody learns to love and serve others. And this function is modeled from the parents first.
That’s why the last time my kids hollered for Menchie’s, I said yes. And I went with a good attitude.
Sure, Menchie’s is not my personal preference. But I want to help facilitate a positive experience for my family, so in that sense, Menchie’s fulfills its purpose by bringing joy to my children. And for that purpose, I can put up with the place, at least for half an hour, and do so with a smile.
That’s the winning principle: learn to evaluate by purpose, not only by preference.
You’ll save yourself a heap of frustration.
You might even learn to like Menchie’s.
Question: in what other areas have you learned how to evaluate by PURPOSE, not only by PREFERENCE?