Are you an individual who generally assumes the positive intent in people, situations or opportunities? Let’s call you Positive Peter.
Or are you more skewed towards distrust and believing a negative intent is at play? Let’s call you Negative Nelly.
Positive Peter always trusts people and believes that every interaction is based on ethics and honesty. Peter thinks others always have his best interests at the forefront of their thoughts and motivations. He trusts uncompromisingly and is regularly disappointed later when others have not kept their word or misled him.
Negative Nelly has no such problems as Peter. Nelly is always on edge trying to catch out people on their commitments and intent. Suspicious of all, Nelly prides herself on never being ‘caught out. She claims she can always pick an offer or opportunity that seems too good to be true.
Unfortunately for Positive Peter, his eager trust and belief in everyone often lets him down. He hasn’t built a good radar for BS or developed stronger soft skills in body language and reading people. In regularly misreading the play, and losing out, his confidence drops and so does his performance.
Unfortunately for Negative Nelly, in not trusting anyone she misses out on building valuable relationships with a genuine network of legitimate players. Even worse, in viewing most opportunities suspiciously, she locks out winning opportunities that are presented to her. This over zealous filtering leads to a negative or break-even outcome in her performance.
Now let’s introduce a third individual that is both positive and negative who combines intuition with fact – meet Balanced Barbara.
Balanced Barbara seeks first to understand before being understood (hat tip to the great late Stephen Covey).
Barbara tends to trust until deceived and does not assume malice in other’s actions at first instance. However, she has honed her people skills and reads the play well.
Balanced Barbara may get it wrong sometimes, but she gets it right 95% of the time.
And isn’t that enough?
To have an optimistic, balanced and generally happy life in opting in to a fair – but objective – approach to mindset allows so much good to get in.
If you burn Barbara – and people do a few times out of a hundred – she will discover it and know.
And she will amend her view of you and how she deals with you.
She won’t write about you on social media or yell and scream. Barbara will most likely let you know she is disappointed and won’t be dealing with you again. Her network and circle of excellence will move on.
Then Barbara will move back to the other 95 great people and opportunities she has at her fingertips.
Next time you feel you have drifted towards Positive Peter or Negative Nelly, collect your thoughts as Balanced Barbara would and objectively view your position from the middle kingdom.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on being balanced in your mindset.
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