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How you handle insult determines your result

By Gbenga Adebambo
12 February 2022   |   4:05 am
Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy teaches us how to reach a peaceful state of mind and to be unmoved by things that are beyond our circumference of control.

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away” — David Viscott

Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy teaches us how to reach a peaceful state of mind and to be unmoved by things that are beyond our circumference of control.

One of these things is insult, which often leads to the receiver getting hurt, angry and even resentful. The thing is: what other people say to us is beyond our control. Nevertheless, majority of people seem to get triggered when they get insulted. I will be using this write-up to teach us about having a renewed mindset towards handling insults.

There is a biblical story in the book Matthew Chapter 15, where a Canaanite woman approached Jesus concerning her daughter, who had been grievously vexed with a devil. She had heard a lot about the extraordinary healing power of Jesus and decided to approach the master. In one of the most seemingly harsh responses from Jesus, he compared her daughter to a dog, to the amazement of many. The woman was wise enough to look beyond the master’s provocation and insult to get the much desired healing for her daughter.

Most times, the missing link between people’s insult and our result is our renewed approach to provocations. Some insults will test the depth of our character and how well we can handle provocations. One great lesson I learnt from this story is that it is not every insult and provocation that we must always respond to. The time that God has given you here on earth will never be enough to respond to everybody’s insult.

You must be selective and wise with your responses to people’s provocations. It is not all insults that should get your attention. If you are always responding to every insult thrown at you, you will hardly get to your destination in life.

One living legend in the area of exceptional approach to handling insults is Ratan Tata. Ratan Tata is a man that has found a deep nexus between business and character. How you react when you are insulted says a lot about your character. Character is the inward response to outward frustration and insults.

Tata group launched its passenger car Tata Indica in year 1998. The group was led by Ratan Tata, as it was his decision to enter the passenger car business. In its first year, Tata Indica as an experiment seemed to be failing.

Many people started advising Ratan Tata to sell the passenger car business. Ratan Tata later agreed to this and a proposal was given to Ford, to which they showed interest. Ratan Tata, along with his close team members, reached Detroit to discuss the same in 1999. Detroit hosts Ford Headquarter and is considered the automobile hub of United States.

While the meeting went on for three hours, it seemed that the behaviour of Ford people was insulting towards Tata Group’s representatives.

In the meeting, Chairman of Ford, Bill Ford said to Ratan Tata: “Why did you enter in the passenger car business when you were not really ready for it? We will be doing you a favour if we buy this business from you”. Ratan Tata took all this insults calmly and finally decided not to sell again. It was a strong decision to make at a time his company needed Ford’s intervention, but he decided to move back home. While travelling back to India, he was much -tensed as the feeling of being insulted became his invisible companion throughout the journey.

First was failure, second was a deep insult and he decided to turn his frustration into fuel. After earlier failures, Tata Motors did well with its business of passenger cars but in the same period, Ford cars did very badly. In 2008, nine years after Ratan Tata’s humiliation at the Ford’s Headquarter, something dramatic happened. The seemingly ‘Almighty’ automobile company (Ford) was hit with a financial crisis that threatened to sink it into oblivion. Ford was neck-deep in bankruptcy as it was incurring heavy losses from Jaguar-Land Rover division.

Tata Group offered to buy their luxury car brand, Jaguar-Land Rover. Bill Ford, along with his team this time had to travel down to Bombay House, the headquarter of Tata Group in India for this life-saving negotiation. The deal was finalized for $2.3 billion.

In the meeting, Bill Ford told Ratan Tata, “You are doing a big favour for us by buying Jaguar-Land Rover”. Jaguar-Land Rover is now owned by Tata Group and is currently making profit. Within a few years of the buyout, JLR (Jaguar-Land Rover) made a dramatic turnaround and is the mainstay of Tata Motors’ finances now. Ratan Tata took all the insults from Mr. Ford and turned it to profit. When it was time to revenge, he didn’t look at the way Ford treated him, he simply looked at his own values and virtues.

Ratan Tata taught us all a very big lesson that in life, we must never treat people as they are but treat them as we are. Today, Ratan Tata is one of India’s most trusted business leader and this has become undoubtedly the source of his wealth. The character of simplicity and humility will always open doors and attract wealth.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him”. Many times we suffer very degrading treatment from people but unknown to many, there is something more degrading than the way you’ve been treated and that is to spend the rest of your life hating and loathing those people. If you really have to revenge for what others have done to you, then let your revenge be your massive result. Don’t ever focus on your hurt, use the pain to propel yourself to greatness. Don’t ever stoop so low to plan to hurt the people that hurt you; use the hurt for something more fulfilling and productive. Your best revenge for any insult should be your result. I pray for you that God will give you results that will cancel your insults!