Assume the Best Intentions

Sometimes, when somebody says something, we interpret it through our own filters. I sometimes use this example: Imagine that you have a professor from college who gives three different students their papers back and on the top of each paper he writes: “Interesting.”

One person gets the paper and goes: “Oh my gosh, I’m going to flunk. This is the end of the world. This professor never liked me. I probably will be a janitor the rest of my life.” Another person may say: “Interesting. I need to get some more information about this.” And somebody else may receive those words and think: “I am clear. This professor wants me to co-teach next semester.” Same word… interpreted three different ways.

We take information in through our filters. Communication isn’t just what’s said, it’s what we digest. Often that comes from our past history and what our beliefs are about ourselves.

As you hear things people say in the future, make sure you run things through this filter: “assume the best intentions.” Assume that they have your back, that they meant well, and something just went into breakdown. Because when you don’t assume best intentions, it usually doesn’t end up pretty. Enjoy your assumption of best intentions.

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