Asian or Polynesian?

A well known pizza restaurant on the west coast conducted a blind taste test to determine the name for the sauce of their new pizza. The tasters believed they were choosing between two pizzas that were rivaling between being placed on a menu and only one could win. The company, however, simply needed to know how to label the sauce they had created. The sweet and sour sauce could either favor the sweet flavor thus taking on a Polynesian name or the sour flavor by taking on an Asian name. Tasters were given identical pieces of pizza but differing names, Polynesian Pizza or Asian Pizza. Which pizza should be on the menu – which pizza would you most often purchase?
What the tasters didn’t know was if they liked the Asian concept the pizza would have been put with chicken and if they liked the Polynesian concept it would be put with ham. They weren’t tasting pizza’s, they were testing the naming of the sauce on the pizza. If the brain were to provide accurate information, the participants would have provided feedback that didn’t favor either more than another as they were identical in flavor. However, biases in the brain exist and therefore skewed the results of what the tasters believed they were tasting. The overwhelming response was that the Polynesian Pizza was far more flavorful and that they would purchase it more than the Asian Pizza. Thus, the Maui Zaui was born.

How many times in your life have you thought that you knew something to be true, like these tasters, but perhaps it wasn’t? We have all insisted on our way at times only to find out we were wrong just like these taste testers simply because we all have biases. These biases can cause us to make poor choices, create conflict in relationships, or even negatively shape our character.

The same pizza company used a ranch sauce with three different names. Ranch was used in the salad bar, white sauce was used for the pizza and creamy garlic sauce was used for their parmesan twists. But all the same sauce yet no one knew the difference. Marketing is a fascinating concept but runs deep into the rest of our lives as well. These bias’ occur in everything we do. The Next Wise Choice operates on eight timeless and universal principles that cross generational and cultural differences. One of those principles is willingness.

WILLINGNESS: One of the concepts within willingness is the ability to be willing to look for THE truth in all situations. We more often than not are seeking to fulfill OUR truth rather than align ourselves with THE truth. We want information to fit what we believe to be true rather than be open to change if it means the truth is not what we thought it to be. This is because we doubt there is a universal truth to much around us. We are a culture bent on not offending others so we accept all truths – therefore reject the notion that there is a single truth. Jesus claimed to be the truth and the life. There are areas in our lives where things are not black and white or in other words, truth is not so clear. However, there are many areas where truth stands very clear. We simply don’t want to accept it. Like the tasters who didn’t believe the sweet and sour sauce was one in the same, we keep on believing our own version of truth and remain a conflicted culture.

TRUTH VS. BIASES: Conflicts in relationships are filled with biases. We’ve heard how there are two sides to every story. The truth is there are more than two sides. No matter how much information we believe we have, there is most likely more information that is yet to be revealed that we’re unaware of. We rarely know as much as we think we do. The more we can come to realize this fact the better we are at resolving conflict. That is the first step in conflict resolution – understand that you will NEVER have all of the facts…never! Even if you and I are in a conflict and I try to share with you all that is in my heart, I don’t even fully know what makes my heart tick. So we won’t fully know the whole story. Yet I am operating on biases – some that I’m unaware of, as are you. Don’t assume that you know what the other person is thinking, that you know the whole story, that you know the only solution, or that you’ve heard it all. Listen for other alternatives. Get past your biases.

Jesus understands your biases. If He is our source we are more likely to get to the root of them or at least become more patient with each other as we try to uncover them. We begin to understand that the enemy isn’t the person we’re in conflict with – it’s the hurts that are so hidden that we don’t know why we act the way we do. Looking to Jesus is the second step in conflict resolution. You and I are completely limited in our understanding and abilities.

SELF PRESERVATION VS ATTACK: As we look to Jesus as the source of uncovering our hidden wounds, we must begin to trust that the people we are dealing with are generally trustworthy and good. Most people operate with good intentions and only become hurtful when we ourselves are in pain. Hurting people hurt others not because they’re looking to harm you but because they’re trying to preserve themselves. People who are not hurting do not hurt other people. Therefore, the assumption can be that if someone is wounding you, then you can assume they are in pain. Consider a wounded dog who bites when you get too close. People are like that too.

They get grumpy or bite when they are protective of wounds. It’s not that they are bad at heart but more likely that they are wounded at heart. We, however, tend to adopt the belief that we can’t trust people because they’re harmful. It’s less that they’re harmful but that they’ve been harmed. When we can get past hurts, people become more kind. This will NEVER happen when we approach life and others with the understanding that people suck or that they are not trustworthy or good. If people ‘bite’ then it means they are hurting. Find a way to get past their pain to get to their heart by assuming there is a heart – a good heart in there. That’s the third step in conflict resolution – assume the best in people. When we can assume that people generally have our best interest at heart, the rest is easier.

Consider these three areas in your next conflict resolution. I will give you this caution though. Always begin using skills in the easiest situations first. Practice makes perfect. If you try using a new skill in the most extreme situation and it doesn’t work, you’ll fail and throw your hands up in the air and never try again. But if you try in an easier situation such as with someone you trust, you will be more likely to succeed. Build upon that success each time until you master the skill. Eventually you can try the skill on more difficult people and find that it will work there. Just please don’t start with difficult people first. It’s like signing up for the Army and going to war before going through your basic training – that’s just silly.