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Assume the Best in Others, Despite Any Evidence to the Contrary

I had a friend years ago who’s father owned an exercise equipment company. His father gave an interview that always stuck with me. His favorite line was “work hard, play hard, sleep well.” Recently we went through some technical issues at work and customers contact us to complain. That’s always uncomfortable, but more so when you are genuinely trying to be forthcoming and honest.

We know what goes on in our own mind and what our intentions are. We have a good idea about the intentions of people close to us. It’s so hard to feel satisfied that people outside our immediate circle are working in good faith. We’re conditioned to assume the worst, and for some very good reasons. But if we allow that to be our default assumption about everyone we miss out on the joy that comes from understanding others.

I’m going to assume the customer that accused me of hiding my intentions just hasn’t learned this skill yet. He is likely a delightful person who is having a bad day. His anger helps him right now, and I accept that. Eventually he’ll either come around or he’ll move on.

As for me, I will be fine either way. I know we’ve done a good job. I’ll allow his anger to give me a chance to practice skills that will serve me for years to come. This moment could be an important milestone that I will look back on with fondness in the future.

I will sleep well tonight knowing that I did my best work today.

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