Sid’s Sense- Getting Results
View previous posts in this series, Sid’s Sense.
Beware of the tyranny of assumptions
How many legs on a table? If you’re like most people, you immediately think four. We make assumptions based on experience, perception, intuition, and signals. Assumptions are useful and help us cut to the chase.
It is when we assume our assumptions are facts that we get into trouble.
“Wrong assumptions come from failure to use specific enough words during your exploration of the facts,” says Sid.
“Questions are windows to the mind and help us separate fact from what we assume to be fact,” he continues. Watch your words with your significant others, friends, kids, and co-workers.
Disagreements almost always boil down to the tyranny of assumptions. We assume people’s motives, intentions, and feelings instead of digging for the facts.
Avoid adjectives and adverbs! This is an epidemic. The “role models” in Washington are the poster children for this bad habit. The surest way to kill a negotiation is to personally attack your opponent.
No matter how incompetent or how much you disagree with someone, don’t attack the person’s personal character.
If you’re a jury foreman trying to convince fellow jurors to change their vote, are you better off telling them they are stupid idiots for their obvious lack of judgement OR are you better off focusing on the facts of the case while demonstrating your faith in their ability to make the right decision?
Children learn this skill at a young age from listening to their parents and how they react to others. If you refer to the bank teller as “pathetic” (personal) instead of “slow going” (behavioral), it won’t be long before you start hearing that child referencing others as “stupid” or “moron,” etc.
We even attack ourselves. Especially when it comes to eating right and exercising. “How could I have been so stupid?” “If I didn’t eat like a pig I wouldn’t be so fat!” Not a very effective strategy for self-improvement.
Worse yet is when these descriptors are used to bully and discriminate. Focus on behaviors and facts.
When choosing between being popular and being respected, choose being respected every time.
Successful people are rarely the most popular. There are those who won’t like you because they disagree with you. There are those who are jealous. There are those who are having a bad day, week or year and no matter what you do, they won’t like you.
Achievement means growth. Growth means change. Most folks resist change. Homeostasis can be paralyzing (I’ll talk about this in my series on Mastery).
If you aren’t disliked by someone, you aren’t pushing the envelope far enough. Who doesn’t want to be liked? Winning a popularity contest has to feel good, right? (I wouldn’t know– someone tell me what that feels like).
To be liked, sometimes I had to pretend I wasn’t this goal driven person who always needed stimulating challenges. I had to pretend I was the girlfriend with the shoulder to cry on, when I’m really more of a problem solver, let me pump you back up, “reality therapy” kinda friend. Thanks to my Dad who told me that all I can hope for is to be respected and never compromise who I am to win over others.
Sid has aggravated the daylights out of so many opposing attorneys. Not to mention the havoc he brought on to those he sued.
As long as his moral compass was on target, he kept his eye on the ball.
Dozens of times he has told me he just had lunch with one of those lawyers he defeated (and he was the invitee). Other times someone on the opposing side called years later to hire or consult with him. Why? Because he gained their respect. Sure, they didn’t like him at the time.
Respect came first. The “like” came later.
The US Postal Service should be thriving
Postal carriers pray for me. Why? Because they think I am in SO much legal trouble that never ends! Why? Because Sid sends me an average of 6 letters a day (the return address states “attorney at law”)! I am not joking.
Always teaching, he sends me copies of articles, non-confidential negotiations, and letters ranging from his battle with his credit card company to commending a nurse at the VA hospital. He could have retired much earlier had he invested the money he has spent on stamps! He has always been on a first name basis with his mailman, not to mention ALL personnel at the post office near his home. They all know him.
Learn to write letters, not just emails. The impact of a letter in today’s society has even more impact than it did years ago. A personal letter with a stamp contains a message not within its print:
This was important enough that I took the time and expense to mail it. Don’t underestimate this message and teach it to your electronic-age kids!
Write thank you notes. This is a lost practice it seems. I have been to several weddings where I didn’t even receive a thank you note for the wedding gift. Or I was the recipient of a group e-mail thanking all of the guests for the gifts and for coming to the wedding. REALLY?!
Teach your children the skill of writing thank you notes for any gift or favor received. If it has one line and a stamp, that is fine. It teaches appreciation, gratitude and effort. If you have to write many, just remember there is only one recipient of each and it means something to them.
I write a thank you card to every single new customer of my company, Photo-Graphics Co., Inc. I don’t care if they placed a $100 or $10,000 order, they get a personal “thank you” from me.
If you think we’re done with stamps, hold on to your mailbox because I’ve only begun to educate you of the power of the written word! Stay tuned!