We tend to pass judgement on others based on their actions while passing judgement on ourselves by our motivations and intentions. This seemingly simple human insight sounds elegant and simple at the same time. What it’s really saying is that we have a very limited understanding of others even though we believe to have quite a developed understanding.
Critical to understanding a situation is why someone did what they did. Perhaps you should ask that 5 times. In organizations you will not always end up talking to the same person after asking the whys, but by digging in the real underlying problem will reveal itself.
Unless you’re dealing with a nature preserve with no human interaction at all for a few hundred miles almost every problem boils down to a human problem even if on the surface it’s a code problem, a marketing problem an understanding problem.
Look to motivation.
Give others more slack and stop assuming so much. Because you intrinsically understand your motivations and intentions you give yourself a pass when you do something that if you judged yourself only on your actions you’d be incredibly critical of. The same happens for others. This one incredibly simple but difficult lesson will provide clarity for a ton of situations where you may have been bothered by actions instead of intentions.
Think of times or look for times when you’re driving and you’ve been cut off, had to brake or ‘helped’ someone else not get into an accident. Most people have a visceral response, for many reasons. But this thought exercise is to reflect on whether you’ve judged those individuals by their actions or intentions and motivations. Think of times when you may have been overly focused on judging yourself on your motivations or intentions instead of actions. Driving is a great example for those of us who are not as conscienous.