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Everything We See is Perspective, Not Truth

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I recently saw a video on Facebook where a family was treated horribly by a
waitress at a restaurant when ordering a meal. The waitress serving them was one of the rudest individuals I had ever witnessed. She spoke down to this family, berated the children and refused to take certain orders. Honestly, it was the most shameful customer service I had seen in a long time. I thought to myself, if I was in that situation, I would have walked out. And If I was the owner of the restaurant, I would have fired the waitress on the spot. Though I had no idea who this family was or where this restaurant was located, I felt badly for both the family and the business owner. As I continued to watch the video I kept asking myself, how was this place still in business?

Then I read the caption and comments under the video.

Turns out, this restaurant specializes in insults; it’s their shtick, and it’s meant to be entertaining. As soon as I realized that, I started to laugh almost instantly. Now I get it. That one piece of information about the restaurant changed my perspective about the video.

This got me to thinking about an event I attended recently. There was a picture taken of me where I appear to be angrily giving someone a piece of my mind—which couldn’t have been further from the truth. In reality, we were enjoying a nice conversation—in fact joking and talking about the wine we were drinking at the time. (It was a wine tasting.) What appeared on the surface was not in fact the reality of the situation.

How many times do we enter into conversations or situations without having all the facts? How many times do we neglect to share complete information, either on purpose or inadvertently, and expect different results? And how often do we make assumptions that may not be valid?

In order to avoid falling into this trap, I always try to think like a good project manager. Meaning, during conversations, I tend to ask lots of questions and get as much clarity as possible before proceeding. I try to make sure that I understand what is needed and what is being asked of me. And I always try to avoid making assumptions—though, I must admit, my biases sometimes still come into play. The key is to become aware of those biases. Once you are aware of them, you can pivot accordingly.

Do you find yourself making premature assumptions? If so, what steps can you take to make a change? This weekend be curious. Ask questions and take in the whole story rather than assuming you automatically know the plotline. Who knows, you might just be pleasantly surprised.

“Remember, we see the world not as it is but as we are. Most of us see through the eyes of our fears and our limiting beliefs and our false assumptions.” – Robin S. Sharma

Have a great weekend.