"Rules to Live By" (RTLB) is a new series that I will occasionally be writing here on my blog. Like every other professional, in every other field, over the years I’ve picked up a lot of things that make my life easier, both professionally and personally. Most of these things can be summarized in a sentence or two, and I’ve decided to call them Rules to Live By (original, I know). As much as any other reason, they are here to remind myself of things that I’ve decided to believe in, even if I don’t feel like it one day.
Without further ado, I present RTLB #1:
Always assume good intentions.
This one is not always easy, but I’ve found myself doing this for many years, and it has become second nature. If I find myself in the situation where someone says or does something that could be offensive in some way, I stop and think, "They didn’t mean it the way it came out."
Most people aren’t intentionally mean-spirited. Sure, some people are just rude, arrogant, selfish morons, but that is rare. It is unlikely that they meant to offend me with that comment or action. There is almost definitely some circumstance I am not aware of that is causing this. Almost always it is a miscommunication somewhere along the way, on my end or theirs, or both.
Yes, sometimes it’s my own fault.
Realizing this, it helps keep me from getting unnecessarily angry and reacting in a way that makes things worse, or from sitting and grumbling silently to myself or peers. Staying calm and humble by assuming the problem is very possibly my own fault, I can often approach the person and work through whatever issues there are, and in the end, we are all happy.
So there you have it, Rule to Live By #1. I welcome any comments or feedback. If you have your own rules to live by, I’d love to hear about them.