Making Assumptions About What Others Assume (About You)

When you are walking down the street and say, “Good Morning” to a stranger passing by, what do you assume that person assumes about you?

Even after all the work I have done to create healthy self-confidence for myself, I noticed this morning while on a walk that when I said “Good Morning” to a person I passed, I assumed that they assumed that I was of low intelligence because of my speech impediment.  Does my assumption, in fact, represent the truth of what the people I passed were thinking or anywhere close to it?  Upon reflection, I realized that I had absolutely no idea.

What inaccurate assumptions do you assume that others assume about you the moment they meet you?

Maybe we ought to say, “Hi! Glad to meet you.  I already assume that you are making assumptions about me and, just so you know, it is going to take you a while to prove that you are not.”

This is craziness!

Rather than enjoying the process of meeting someone, we often assume that we have to disprove assumptions that we assume the person we just met is assuming about us.

(This is lots of assuming and the other person has barely said anything yet!)

Or we could just state flat out what we assume the person we just met is thinking.  In my case, I could say, “Hi, I’m Jason! It’s awesome to meet you.  And by the way, I already assume that you assume that I’m of very low intelligence because of the sound of my voice.  Want to be friends?”  (This approach might be slightly awkward.)

If we are going to naturally make assumptions about what people we are just meeting think of us, why not replace our disempowering assumptions with empowering ones?

For example, Daniel instantly assumes that whenever he meets someone, they are making the assumption that he is a goof-off and not professional.  He could work to become fully conscious of this assumption and then consciously tell himself when he meets people that they instantly admire him, want to be his friend, and see him as a professional.  Of course, Daniel is still making assumptions, but now the assumptions that he is making work in his favor.

What would it be like to assume that when people meet us, they instantly see someone they like, someone they admire, and someone they want to be friends with?

Game of the Day

If you find yourself assuming that people you just have met are making inaccurate or negative assumptions about you:

  1. Practice becoming fully conscious of these assumptions.
  2. Practice replacing these limiting assumptions with positive assumptions.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Take the “What Has Been Amazing About Your Day?” Challenge

Some months ago, I started asking people the simple question, “What’s been amazing about your day?”  I have asked friends, family, people who check my groceries…  just about anyone I come in contact with could potentially be asked this question.  I’m excited by how this question inspires people to think positively and encourages them to contemplate the goodness of their day.  As you might imagine, I have gotten all matter of responses from people, most positive and some neutral, but none negative.

Here are six reasons I’ve found that asking this question is valuable.  (Now listen up.  This is your pep talk before I invite you to take the “What has been amazing about your day?” challenge.)

  1. “What has been amazing about your day?” is a great question to ask because the person you are asking either thinks of something amazing to tell you (which I found to be the case the vast majority of the time) or they say, “nothing.”  If they say “nothing,” you have an opportunity to ask them more questions and allow them to talk about their day, which they may have found to be somewhat disappointing.
  2. When you ask “What has been amazing about your day?”, the person you are asking might contemplate the question and be inspired by it long after your conversation with them is over.
  3. When you ask this question, you convey to the person you are asking your belief and confidence that they have experienced something amazing in their day.
  4. By asking this question, you can make small talk larger, or in this case more amazing.
  5. From a self-care stand-point, this question is phenomenal because you are empowering people to respond to you in a positive manner.  The more you ask this question, the more you intentionally surround yourself with happiness and joy.
  6. The more you ask this question of others, the more it is on your mind as you create an amazing day for yourself.

 So are you up for a joyful and AMAZING challenge?  I invite you to take the first ever (that I know of) “What Has Been Amazing About Your Day?” Challenge.  Here are the details:

 The Challenge

Each day for a week, ask five people the question, “What has been amazing about your day?”

Listen and enjoy their responses.

Have an answer prepared if they ask you the same question in return.

Post your results on this blog.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Stranger-To-Friend Conversations

Say you go to a big party and the only person you know is the person who invited you.  You have the chance to meet lots of new people.  Do you approach this situation with excitement or trepidation?

Our experiences in situations such as this depend a great deal on whether we assume we have things in common with people we haven’t met, or if we feel we have nothing in common.  If we assume that we will discover even the smallest tread of commonality, we begin talking.    We become excited to find out what we have in common with the person we just met, as well as the differences in our life experiences.

When we talk to strangers, we give them the opportunity to become friends even if only for a short time.

For example, as I write this, I’m flying from Dallas to San Diego.  I have quickly become friends with the two flight attendants.   We have exchanged smiles.   We have asked, “How’s your day going?”  I have offered, “You are doing a great job!”   We have shared a joke or two.

Does this mean that we will exchange phone numbers, become Facebook friends or that I will even ever see them again?  Most likely not.

However, who knows when an opportunity will come through this type of light and relaxed communication – maybe wisdom, maybe recommendations, possibly a long-term friendship.  Who knows?

But one thing is certain – this type of communication is fun and joyful in the moment.  People the world over have the wish to be happy in common, and when we share this commonality with each other we fill our lives with happiness.

Think of it, your friends were at one time strangers to you as you were strangers to them.

Now talking to strangers and giving them a chance to become friends doesn’t mean you need to instantly reveal personal info and secrets.  There still is a building of a relationship and trust.

And there are of course some situations where it clearly might be inappropriate or unsafe to talk to a stranger.  (But in my experience, I find these situations are far from common.)

When we develop even a ten-minute long friendship with someone, we give them a brief glimpse into our lifetime of experience and get a brief glimpse into theirs.  We become stronger, the world becomes a bit more friendly and peaceful.

It’s simple to have a Stranger-to-Friend Conversation: be nice, be kind, take an interest, listen, smile, laugh, ask questions, offer a bit about yourself.

These types of stranger to friend interactions don’t obligate you to send holiday cards or even set up further meetings unless you both want to.  But these Stranger-to-Friend Conversations can make a big difference in the quality of your days and your ability to discover new opportunities.

Game of the Day

 How many Stranger-to-Friend Conversations can you have today?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Keeping It Short AND Sweet: In Praise of the Concise Conversation

I love great conversations with friends and family that last for hours, but in our daily lives there isn’t always time for such lengthy interactions.

So here comes the Short AND Sweet Conversation to save the day!  The Short AND Sweet conversation can be a wonderful way of communicating to people that you value them, while at the same time, taking care of any practical matters that may need to be addressed in the conversation.  In addition, the Short AND Sweet conversation respects the reality that you and the person you are conversing with may both be in the middle of very busy days.

Here are six Short AND Sweet Tips for creating a winning Short AND Sweet Conversation:

Concentrate – Focus on what the person is saying so that they feel heard and don’t have to repeat themselves.  Focus on what you are saying so that you stay attuned to the subject of the conversation and don’t stray off into digressions or side stories.

Keep It Polite – An easy way to get involved in a Lengthy AND Unfruitful conversation is by not being polite.  If you are not polite, your Short AND Sweet conversation is definitely no longer sweet and also very likely no longer short.  The person you’re talking with is offended.   You feel bad.  You apologize. The person you’re talking to accepts your apology (or doesn’t).  All of this foolishness takes time and creates drama.  Yuck!

Make Straightforward Requests – Respect the time of the person you’re talking with, as well as your own, by making requests in a clear, concise, and, of course, polite way.

Offer an HONEST Compliment – Go ahead, brighten the day of the person you’re talking to.  You make them feel good and strong, which adds joy to their day and strengthens your relationship to them.

Make Plans for a Future Conversation If Need Be – If it becomes clear that your Short AND Sweet conversation is turning into a Lengthy AND Detailed one, make plans with the person you are talking with to continue the conversation on an occasion when you both have plenty of time.

End On a High Note – Depending on the circumstances, this high note could be a high-five, a hug, well wishes for the rest of the day.  Or use your sense of the conversation to be creative and offer a final gorgeous high note to the conversation that leaves both of you happy as you part ways.

Game of the Day

Notice the Short AND Sweet conversations that you have today.

Beyond “What’s Happening?”— New Questions to Create Richer Conversations

                                    

If you had asked me “What’s happening?” or “What’s up?” or “What’s new?” at about 11:30 last night, I would have told you a sad little tale about parking my car in a bike lane which I didn’t notice, and having a sizable parking ticket when I returned to my car. I would have also told you about how I didn’t think the bike lane was clearly marked, but that I wasn’t going to appeal the ticket because it would be a lengthy process.  In addition, you would have had the opportunity to hear about how frustrated I was by the whole experience.

From there, the conversation could have progressed into swapping other frustrating parking ticket stories, before branching into talking about our general frustrations with life.

On the other hand, if at 11:30 last night, you had asked me, “What was the most amazing thing that happened in your day,” our conversation would have been different.  I would have answered excitedly by telling you about a birthday party I went to with my good friends Patricio and Michael.  I would have told you about our drive up into the mountains north of San Diego, where our gracious host lived high up with a pool right on the edge of a ridge.  As I was floating in the pool, I could gaze out and see orchards and gorgeous misty mountains in the distance.  Then after swimming and an amazing dinner, I would tell you of going for a walk to see a majestic avocado grove on the side of this mountain.

From there, you might well start telling me about the amazing places that you had been.  Our conversation might then naturally drift towards wonderful experiences we had enjoyed and amazing people we knew.

As you can see at 11:30 last night, based on the question asked, we would have had two completely different conversations.

When we ask each “What’s Happening?” or “What’s up?” or “What’s new?” or some variation there of, I’ve noticed that it is human nature to start talking about what is wrong with life.

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to begin our conversations with richer questions that immediately place both speaker and listener in a positive frame of mind.  There are many variations of richer questions.  I’ll list just a few examples:

 “What is a great thing that happened in your week?”

“What are you most excited about today?”

“What do you love about your life?”

 “How have you felt strong this week?”

These questions naturally turn us towards having conversations in which we talk about our strengths and the things that make us happy.  These are highly enjoyable conversations to have!

Game of the Day

Today, begin three conversations with a richer question than you usually use to begin conversations.  Choose a question from the above examples or invent your own.