Posted in Life Gyan

Assume Positive Intent

Once a person was traveling across the countryside in his car and unfortunately somewhere on the outskirts of a village his car get a flat Tyre. When he gets down to replace the tyre he realizes that he forgot the jack in his own garage. He gets very upset at his own stupidity and kicks the flat tyre in disappointment. He looks around for help but there is no one to be seen. He looks around once more pondering at the alternatives when he notices a car parked in the courtyard of one of the houses in the distance across the fields. He chuckled at the sight of the car and decides to ask the owner of the car, probably a farmer, if he could borrow his jack. 

So he starts walking towards the farmer’s house. While walking he starts to mentally prepare his narration that he would tell the farmer which would convince him to lend the jack in the easiest and quickest possible manner. He thinks if I say this the farmer may respond like this and then this is what I am going to tell him. If he offers me tea/coffee I am going to say this and so on. During his mental dialogues he also thinks what if the farmer makes an excuse and refuses to lend the jack. Then he prepares his reasons to convince the farmer but what if the farmer does not relent – he tries harder but what if the farmer does not trust strangers. 

The dialogues in his head continue to get more and more intense as he keeps walking towards the farmer’s house. By the time he knocks on the farmer’s door he is completely agitated and enraged with the arguments going on in his head. And the moment the farmer opens the door the person is so angry that he punches the farmer…

This story may not be very different from what we too face in our day to day lives. Wherever the favorable outcome of a situation is extremely important to us, our emotions get attached to the outcome.  Doubt, anxiety and negative thoughts then start creeping into our mind. And the mental conversations begins. As these situations play out in our head, we start looking suspiciously at all the other characters in the play as if everyone has just one motto – how to jeopardize the outcome we desire so badly. Just like the person with the flat tyre in the story, we start mixing our mental conversations with the real world interactions and start “punching” (read behaving rudely, sulking, stop responding, deliberately avoid helping, using sarcastic language) the various characters who are none other than our family members, friends and colleagues. 

To prevent ourselves from getting trapped into such behaviors and to make our own lives and that of others around us blissful, here is a simple, powerful and very effective concept. All you need to do is to repeat this phrase to yourself whenever you are faced with doubt, anxiety or negative thoughts about a person or a situation and your faith starts to falter.


The beauty of this simple thought is that it applies equally well to all situations whether you are at home, at work or with friends. Whenever you are tempted to think negatively of a situation or the person causing it – pause a moment and remember the phrase “Assume Positive Intent“. These three simple words will direct your mind to look at the same situation by assuming positive intentions of the people involved. Rather than looking at the negative reasons for someone’s behavior you start to think of positive intentions behind people’s behavior. By doing this you are willing to give the benefit of doubt to your friends or family, even if it is for that moment. 

The moment you change your point of view, everything related to it changes, including how you respond to it. It takes the stress out of the entire event and preserves the health of your relationship as you start visualizing people having positive intentions towards you. By adopting a positive view, you not only make your life stress free but also start influencing the others around you with your positive attitude. 

Once you start practicing this in your day to day interactions, you will be tempted to take a print out of these three words and stick it to your desk. These simple words, if practiced consistently can take the heartburn out of so many situations and save many relationships from going stale. 


I am a software consultant by profession and reside in Hyderabad, India. I love to travel, listen to music, cook and make friends.

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