01 Mar Become the Wisest and Most Respected Person in your Office
We’ve all heard the saying about assumptions… they make an a** out of you and me. It’s not the prettiest saying, there is however a lot of truth in it. Our minds are trained to see patterns everywhere, this is how we make sense out of the world. Making patterns and connections enables us to solve some of life’s most challenging problems and has led to some of the world’s greatest discoveries. This hardwired strength in our brain is also designed to make us more efficient and effective. Although this is useful at times, if we spend too much time behaving and thinking in conditioned ways we limit our thinking and our potential. This becomes the difference between mindless and mindful ways of thinking.
This is particularly true when it comes to our ability to work effectively with others and the assumptions we make about others behaviour. Have you noticed that you judge your own behaviour by different standards than you do for others? Let’s look at an example. It’s Monday morning and you are running late for work. You got up at the normal time, but the kids took longer than normal to get ready, then you missed your train and now it means you will be 10 minutes late for your first meeting. At this moment, although you are not happy about being late, and you apologise to those in the meeting when you get there, you know that you hadn’t intended to be late, it didn’t happen because you don’t care about your job or your co-workers, it was just one of those things. You are still a good person.
Let’s turn the tables. Now you are sitting in a meeting room waiting for your colleague. Perhaps this is a colleague that you have a somewhat challenging relationship with. They are late, what do you think? You may assume they are late because they don’t respect you, they don’t value your time, maybe they’ve forgotten about the meeting altogether because they don’t really care about the subject to be discussed, etc.
This tendency to;
- a) judge ourselves considering the context of a situation and to
- b) judge others based on their personality;
is called The Fundamental Attribution Error and if not aware of it, it can significantly limit our ability to develop relationships built on trust and mutual respect. It also limits our ability to see and think clearly when faced with challenging situations.
Mindful Meeting Practice – 3 Assumptions that Empower You
The practice below will help you use assumptions in a more positive way, enabling you to build strong authentic relationships and opening yourself up to greater possibilities for collaboration, creativity and skillful action. It’s a great practice to do before, during or after meetings:
For a moment, sit still and connect with your breath, and then consider the following in relation to the people in the room:
- Assume everyone is there to serve the greater good, until proven otherwise.
- Assume no one has any hidden agenda, until proven otherwise.
- Assume we are all reasonable even when we disagree, until proven otherwise.
Sit with the breath for a few more moments now. Consider how these mindful mindsets will enable you to leave the door open to finding solutions and building trust and authentic relationships, inside and outside of work.