Christmas is H _ _ _ !

Sorry if the title threw you.

But allow me to be a bit brash for a moment.  The title only threw you depending on what letters us used to fill in the blanks.

I have to admit, the set up was for you to assume the word intended was “HELL”.  This was to stir you up a little… and make a point.

The reality is, we as humans have this amazing ability to automatically fill in the blank spaces of life with our assumptions and beliefs.   Then our emotions and actions follow based on what we assume or believe.

There must be something within us that demands that things be complete or whole.  We can’t even stand physical space to be vacant… we have to fill it with a plant, chair, picture or something.

I am not saying this is a bad thing necessarily, except when we fill the void with the wrong information or belief.

There are two troubling aspects of the tendency to “fill in the blanks”.

First is the sad reality that if there is a void to be filled the default tends to be something negative.  I work with a lot of different companies and invariably when there is a void of information people automatically assume the negative.

The default is to distrust vs. trust or assume the worst vs. the best.

Now people will argue that there is good reason to distrust or assume the worst – maybe, maybe not.

All I know is that an inordinate amount of energy (emotional and physical) is lost on negative assumptions when the majority of time the intent or reality was not negative at all.

The other troubling aspect is that we most often “fill in the blanks” in regards to other people.  This is where it gets really messy.

And let’s face it.  We make assumptions about people all the time based on inadequate information.  We question there motives or intents.

How many times have you seen someone become offended, get their feelings hurt or just get angry (I was going to say pissed off but I thought my wife would not like it) by the actions or inactions of another person?

The saddest thing about it is that the other person meant nothing by it.

We, without thinking, fill in gaps with our assumptions – good or bad.

Just so you know, I have my fair share of faults.  I struggle with goofy things that hinder my effectiveness as a business person, husband or friend.

With that said, I am very thankful that one of the issues I tend not to struggle with is automatically assuming the worst or the negative.

I generally suspend judgment or decide not to take something personally.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have a hard time understanding why people automatically gravitate to the negative assumption with incomplete information.

Maybe I’m too self serving and selfish (or completely naïve) to get all worked up and spend negative energy based on incomplete data.

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I think a lot of times we don’t pay enough attention to people with a positive attitude because we assume they are naive or stupid or unschooled.

- Amy Adams
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What I am about to say may really sound weird or naïve.  Even if I do have some basis to believe the other person may have meant something negative by their behavior… I generally decide not to be bothered.

I decide.

I intentionally make a decision not to take something personally.  Even if the person happened to have negative intent I don’t want to give them the power of impacting my life.

I’m sure that I may be coming across a bit arrogant or (God forbid) self-righteous.  I don’t mean to be.  I have no room for self-righteousness because I have plenty of other demons that keep me humble.

The next time you are faced with a void of information… decide.

Now back to the title.  What is another “H” word that would fit?

Humm… I will talk about it on Thursday.

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