I look around today’s culture it is quite sad to see how many people could have done better, if they were just told the truth. Now more than ever, in an effort to prevent someone from having their feelings hurt, or even worse, possibly making them feel bad about what it is they are doing. People are willing to skirt around the truth instead of being direct and honest about what it is the person needs to hear.
For the last ten years, I have taught and trained on the methodologies and principles of the Dale Carnegie Training company. If you aren’t familiar with Dale Carnegie Training. Mr. Carnegie wrote a book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This book has been in publication since 1936. There is not a top 10 book list that doesn’t include this book on it. It is a must read for anybody who must work with other people to get things done. Which is all of us.
In his studies of people, and in his book, Mr. Carnegie provides thirty Human Relations principles that his readers can use to persuade and influence other people. These principles are often known by all of us. I recently had a participant in one of my courses of the Dale Carnegie Course summarize the principles, and the actual course that uses the principles as the centerpiece of the training like this:
He said this course and these principles are really just a reminder to forget about ourself and to put others first. I agree with him. The course and the principles really do just that.
After spending 1000’s of hours in the classroom, and just as many, studying the material and creating engaging exercises and applications of the material. I am reminded that Mr. Carnegie in all of his infinite wisdom, never said “Don’t tell someone the truth.” He instead said, tell them the truth, but to do it in a manner that keeps the other persons desires, emotions, and needs at the top of your mind.
As I think about our culture and society today, many people think that hearing the truth is some kind of attack against them personally and they take it as such. Because everyone is looking for a reason to be offended or to feel attacked, that when they hear or see something that confirms that belief or need in many cases, they immediately assume that is what is happening.
I am proposing a different side to this equation. What if instead of looking at the truth, or even if you disagree with whatever the opinion is. To look at it as if someone is actually attempting to help you in some way, not hurt you. Wouldn’t that be a better way to handle the situation, instead of assuming the worst.
In my years of studying people through various leadership roles, 1000’s of participants, and 1000’s of hours in a training environment making people uncomfortable sharing stories about themselves and engaging in exercises that get people to share the truth about their feelings and desires. I have learned that most people assume the worst. Yes. They assume the worst when they hear something from someone else, that this person didn’t have their best intentions in mind.
In today’s social media culture often times we don’t have the luxury of explaining ourselves fully in detail. Who would actually read that. I am suggesting regardless of what it is someone says to you in person, or on their facebook wall, twitter, or something similar. Instead of assuming the worst take a different approach and assume that whoever said it thinks that this may be beneficial to you. Who knows it actually might be.
To your success and your future.