The Superbowl has come and gone so you’ve probably seen this:
Peyton had just scored a touchdown and everyone in the Manning clan was celebrating except for Eli. Hmm.
There was a lot of speculation. Most of it negative.
He must have a secret feud with his brother. He’s sad that Peyton’s about to tie his Superbowl record. He wasn’t really rooting for him after all.
When asked about it Eli explained that he was just focused on whether the Broncos would go for two. This was a professional watching professionals thinking professional thoughts. His mind was fully in the game. Imagine that.
This is what the majority of us do in the absence of information; we assume the worst about others instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt and discovering the facts.
I’ve done it.
You’ve done it.
We’ve all done it.
The problem is that it’s hurtful. No one likes getting smeared. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of this before and know how it feels.
We assume the worst of others because:
- It’s easier than doing the difficult work of actually talking to them and learning what really happened.
- Tearing others down makes us feel better about ourselves.
- It’s more enjoyable to mock others’ failures than celebrate their success.
- We arrogantly believe we possess magical, godlike powers to know the real story in any given situation.
Did I miss anything?
The next time you don’t know, why not ask? I’ll try to do the same.