Often, when we interact with other human beings, we expect them to be at their best. The customer service agent, the other drivers on the road, the shoppers in the mall and the many others we interact with every week in our lives.
As a result, we’re inevitably disappointed.
Couldn’t they be more competent, constructive or sympathetic?
These folks make us feel worse on a bad day. After all, we’re already kicking ourselves for a dumb mistake. Then, they swoop in with a sarcastic comment or some unreasonable behavior and make our day worse.
But, what if we changed our assumptions and, instead, assumed that the human beings we meet are having their worst day
What if the customer agent just got off a call where a customer berated him? What if the other driver just learnt that her kid had misbehaved? What if one of the shoppers recently got fired?
Maybe we’d behave better to others and, maybe, just maybe, we’d begin to expect less in our lives.
Our happiness is generally a function of our reality relative to our expectations. Of course, we can work away on making our reality better.
But, as with all fractions, working away on the denominator is a sure-fire way to improve the outcome as well.