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Give the Most Generous Explanation

Give the Most Generous Explanation

How easy it is for us to assume the worst? I am very guilty of this. “Oh they were late for my meeting because they just didn’t care. They are so bad at managing their time. They must not think my priority is important.”  Especially in a work place full of many different personalities and stresses, it becomes easier and easier to assume the worst.

I heard someone talking about relationships recently and how we should give someone the most generous explanation. This essentially means, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were late because an emergency came up. Maybe their priority is different from yours, because they are getting some pressure put on them from a higher authority that you don’t see. We don’t know everything about everyone. Done. You can’t argue with that, because it’s true. Sure, we can assume, but you know what happens when you assume right? (If you don’t know, I’ll let Ellen explain for you here)

In the end, we can’t change other people. Sure, you can try, but eventually you’re going to be exhausted, annoyed and negative. Guess what you can change though? You. Your expectations, your reactions, your attitude; you have total control over you and you alone. It’s like the famous Reinhold Niebuhr quote, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Have the wisdom to know you can’t change your coworker, and additional wisdom to be positive anyway!

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Created in 2001 through a management buyout from the Walt Disney Company, IDEAS is a brand and experience design company built around the central premise that powerful stories create powerful experiences. Over 20 years, IDEAS has delivered more than 3500 solutions for destination development, healthcare, government, enterprise and entertainment to more than 1000 clients around the world. For more, visit