API – Nuggets to chew on

Every once in a while, a phrase catches my fancy and I chew on it for a while.

A presenter at a meeting at work used these words “Assume positive intent” a few times. Another presenter caught it and made a mention later. On my way home, the words kept repeating in my head. How easy it sounded!

If every interaction that I had at work or home started with me assuming the person speaking to me had a positive intent, would that change the way I viewed the exchange? Would it make it easier for me to respond? I reached  home and got a chance to test it almost immediately. A comment on my daughters’ bunny teeth would have normally riled me up. I would have been defensive or offended. I took a deep breath and mulled it over. Perhaps it was out of concern.

May be the message was more important than the tone. There were many ways in which I could spin the conversation. How I elected to do that set the course and the mood for the rest of the evening.

As I went to bed, I repeated to myself.

Assume. Positive. Intent.

8 comments

  1. I’ve never consciously done it, but I think by nature I always assume positive intent (my husband always accuses me of being unreasonably trusting). I never realised it until I read this post. Perhaps I must do it more consciously henceforth.

    • That is nice LG. Admittedly it comes easier to me than saathi. I always cherished it as a legacy from my Appa. He did it naturally.

  2. Attitudes, reactions, etc. are at our disposal, things that are within our arm’s reach, things that we can play with to make life easier for ourselves… yet choosing the right reaction and having the right attitude is not so easy after all, isn’t it? But the beauty is, deep in our hearts, we always know what those “right” reactions and attitudes are, just that we should get into the habit of acting on that voice of discipline. Easier said than done. Sorry, if I am going off tangent here. Something that has been going on in our mind, your post gave an expression to it.

    API is a philosophy that my company encourages us to embrace. I think it comes naturally to me at work, but not necessarily with personal relationships especially the ones that I am very close to. Ironical, isn’t it?

    I think one trait that goes hand in hand with API is giving the benefit of doubt. My first and natural reaction is always to give benefit of doubt. When I am not giving benefit of doubt, to me it’s a sign that I am in defensive mode and I need to distance myself from the topic or the person to get an out of the box perspective.

    • yup! we always do know what the *right* is yet, we sometimes doggedly pursue other things either because our ego or pride eggs us on. What touched a nerve in your comment was the part about it being harder with people we are close to. That is so true! I find it easier to give benefit of doubt when I am personally removed from the equation. Harder when emotions cloud rational thinking.

  3. I remember reading this somewhere “we don’t have control on what others say or do but we can control how we react to that. So, let how we act be our action not reaction to other’s action” – very difficult to follow though 🙂

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