In today’s fast paced and pressurized world, in my opinion, it becomes EASY to assume the worst. To assume the driver of the car that cut over two lanes and exited at the last minute is a complete idiot. Or that the person whose report you are waiting for is trying to sabotage your success.
Unlike many politicians today, I am asking you to do the HARD thing … Assume the Best! Some people seem to be a natural or better at this than others. I believe, however, that it can be an acquired skill for all of us.
While I am not big on the crazy driving maneuvers described above, it is possible that the driver didn’t have bad intentions toward other drivers. Maybe they were “spacing out” and were about to miss the exit and were panicking. Or maybe they were just being a little selfish. Maybe that person who is preparing the report is finding errors and is taking some extra time to proof read and correct it. Assuming the worst, that they are some horrible person, is the easy way. What if you … Assume the Best?
What if somebody is honking their horn, not because you are a bad driver, but to let you know the light is green and that you can go? Or someone flashing their headlights at you could be letting you know that your headlights are off.
Yes, if somebody has a proven track record over a period of time, it is reasonable for you to make certain assumptions. But be prepared for them to prove your assumptions wrong on occasion … Assume the Best! Or, at the very least, assume nothing. Take all your history, beliefs and assumptions about the person or situation and set them aside for a moment. Don’t we all deserve a clean slate from time to time?
If this is too hard, you can start by owning up to the fact that your assumptions can be wrong. It is ok to be wrong periodically! Admit openly that the reason someone didn’t get back to you was because of a family emergency, not because they have a grudge against you. And if applicable, admit that you said some unkind things about them in the moment. This act frees you from guilt and pride.
Take a moment right now and consider all the people you have recently assumed the worst of. Now switch your assumption for the better or at least think about alternative possibilities. You can also just let the frustration or anger go by assuming nothing. If you take these steps and practice them, I guarantee you will improve your relationships and your performance! So I challenge you to … Assume the Best!
About Jay Gubrud:
For over seventeen years, Jay Gubrud has helped corporations, associations, their boards and members eliminate roadblocks to their success. His theme is unique and one everybody can relate to … Cars and Driving! Jay’s articles on performance improvement have been in numerous publications nationwide. Let us know of inspirational experiences you have had. You can reach Jay at www.jaygubrud.com and 651-635-9939.