Maybe it’s just me, but I find it incredibly easy to assume bad motivations for things that happen.
The Evil Driver is Suspect
Anyone that has driven has come across seemingly stupid drivers. And some truly are performing stupid acts.
Have you ever had someone do something in traffic, say slow down so they make it through a light and you don’t, and attribute motivations to the person? “Oh, sure, thanks buddy! You did that on purpose! You rotten….. *insert expletives of choice*”
Invariably this seems to happen when I’m running late. Or nearly late. Or am in a hurry for some reason. Or am already annoyed by something.
Is the other driver really doing stuff like that on purpose? Well, maybe. I’ll admit to having done that on occasion to someone that I perceived to having done something to me.
More likely, the other driver is just in their very own little world, doing their own thing, not thinking about you at all. In fact, I’d be willing to bet the other driver has no clue what color car you are driving. It’s just a weird happenstance to which we attribute our own frustrations.
Fair? No. Reasonable. Maybe, as long we are just letting off steam and not doing anything stupid ourselves.
Suspicious Office Politics
Suppose you have this idea on how to improve things. But you haven’t fully formed it yet, so you just chat with a co-worker vaguely, bouncing ideas around.
A week or so later, you’re both in a meeting and something triggers your co-worker to bring up the idea. You, of course, are livid. He or she is trying to steal your idea! How dare they take the credit for it? What kind of lame, underhanded move is that?
Now, having worked in an office, it could very well be that way. So you have to dig a little deeper. Is the person in question the type that has done that in the past to anyone? Are they trying for a promotion that might be helped by the visibility?
Or, did they just forget who started the conversation about the idea and you are assuming the worst motivation? If this one is the case, and if the co-worker is a reasonable person, you might, very casually, mention your previous discussion. Many people will get the hint and give you credit at the next meeting where the idea comes up. But don’t beat them over the head for it unless it’s truly worth cash on the barrel head so to speak. And even then, be very careful not to burn bridges. Co-workers crossed can be vicious.
In the heat of the moment, it’s so easy to just jump to a conclusion about someone else’s motivation. In truth, you can’t know what anyone’s motivation is except yours.
Examine your own frame of mind and motives. Are you upset and projecting that on others? Are you the type that would steal another’s idea so assume others would too?
And when you do, be prepared for some serious ugly. It’s hard to admit to ourselves that we behave badly. We try to say it was for a good reason, etc.
Whatever reason or excuse you want, bad is bad.