I find it amazing how many times I hear people explain other people’s behavior. They did it because of this or that. They knew what they were doing. They wanted to do this. They even jump to say that they know what is coming next.
Connecting the dots that aren’t there makes our stories more credible. Without even knowing or caring whether our explanations are “close” to being accurate. It feels good when we can say that we understand and can explain things in ways that make sense to us.
In hearing these stories, I often believe that people give the other person way too much credit. That their made up explanations as to why someone did something imply that the person they are analyzing was very thoughtful and spent a great deal of time deciding why their behavior or actions should be the way they turned out to be.
It simply isn’t true. None of us have that kind of time to plan our every action or reaction to a situation. We are more flawed then we think. Our thinking is too fast because we don’t know how to slow it down.
Things happen. Some good and some not so good. Unintended consequences or reactions are just part of life. We can’t think of everything. Most likely, neither did the person you are storytelling about.
So instead of spending time constructing stories to explain another person’s behavior, why not use that time to begin working on the next thing that matters to you?
Or spend your time better understanding how you reacted in a situation and use the feedback from others as to how they perceived your behavior to become a little bit better the next time around?
We think we don’t have options but we always do. The easiest ones to pursue are the ones that we can control. Beginning with ourselves.