Perception Vs Intention (WT730)

Perception Vs Intention (WT730)


WT 730 Perception vs Intention

Here’s a little story to help us see the difference between perception and intention.

Ross and I go to the gym of a morning.

Ross is generally ready before I am so he backs the car out of the garage and sits there with it idling.

I put my shoes on and close the garage door and get in the car.

For a while now, this behaviour has annoyed me.

Ignoring all my communication skills for effective confrontation, this week I got in the car and said, “It gives me the s…s when you sit there with the car idling. I feel pressured to hurry up and get going and I don’t like it.”

To which Ross replied, “Well, you can …. off. I start the car so it’s nice and warm for you when you get in.”


Here’s a classic example of perception vs intention.

My perception (or Automatic Listening according to Loretta Malandro) had me thinking Ross was getting impatient with me and I was taking too long.

This was not even close to the truth of his intention.

How often does that happen?

We make up a story based on what’s going on for us, that has absolutely nothing to do with what the other person intends.

Next time you find yourself making up a story, don’t rush in with a blurt that is critical and provoking. Take your time to explore the reasons why the other person might be doing what they are doing.

As in this case, they may actually have positive intentions for you.

I guess I can look forward to jumping into a cold car from now on.

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Don’t Assume Malevolence (WT567)

Don’t Assume Malevolence (WT567)


WT 567 Don't assume malevolence

You know I love quotes and mantras. Well here’s another one that a colleague of mine shared with me recently. Thank you Mark!

It comes from Jordan Petersen, “Don’t assume malevolence, when ignorance will suffice.”

First of all we’d better define malevolence. Without consulting the dictionary, in this context for me it means, don’t assume malice. Don’t expect that someone is intentionally wanting to hurt you in some way.

When you combine it with, “When ignorance will suffice”, my interpretation is that the other is not even aware of the effect they are having on you. The meaning of ignorance is to not know something.  

Okay, so why the English lesson?

These words remind us to not jump to conclusions. They remind us that our suffering is caused by one thing and one thing only and that is our thinking. They remind us to not get caught up in what Loretta Malandro calls Automatic Listening, where we make stuff up based on a reaction and judgement we have to a situation and then we create a story and look for evidence to predict the future and prove ourselves right. In NLP, we call it mindreading.

We do this from a very young age and for many, the ignorant ones, they continue into old age. But not you! You know better.

Here’s an example:

Christine was venting to her colleague about her manager. “He’s horrible, Shirley. He never asks me how I’m going or if there is anything I need? He’s just not interested in me at all.”

“Do you know that for a fact?” I asked.

“Well, that’s what he does”, she replied.

“Yes, that’s what he does. Do you know for sure that he is not interested in you or your work?”

“No, I suppose I don’t know for sure. But he’s horrible.”

“Yes, I understand that’s what you think. How about you ask him what he is thinking?” I encouraged her.

The following week she reported in. “You were right”, she said.

Now that was an interesting comment because I had simply asked her to ask her boss a question.

“He thought that because my personality profile was a Driver or Director (depending on the profiling system you use), he assumed that I wouldn’t want to talk about what was happening for me or what I needed. In fact, he was very interested. He was actually holding himself back, thinking that that was what I wanted.”

“Well, there you go. Don’t assume malevolence, when ignorance will suffice.”

Your turn! What situation have you recently reacted to and decided the other was acting from malicious intentions?

How about you go and have that conversation and check it out and save yourself the angst and grief of reacting to what you’re making up.

P.S. Our next free monthly webinar will be held next week on Friday 14th May at 11:00am Sydney (AEST) time. This month we’re focussing on improving team productivity through a secret system. Click on the link to register, even if you can’t attend, you’ll be able to catch the recording.

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