A Rule To Live By

Rule to live by


This is a simple one. It’s a rule I live by. Well, it really not a rule, but what’s called (in the NLP-world) a presupposition.

A presupposition is just really an assumption. It means that you decide to assume something as being true from the outset.

There are many of these NLP presuppositions. (NLP stands for neuro linguistic programming. It’s a collection of tools, ideas, principles and strategies that help people understand how (rather than why) they do things and bring about change.)

The one that helps to stop getting flustered or annoyed with people is this one:

People do the best they can, with the resources they’ve got at the time

Let me repeat that, so it really sinks in.

People do the best they can, with the resources they’ve got at the time

What this really means is that you are never questioning people’s intent.

So, someone cut you up in the car on the way to work. That’s probably how best they could handle themselves being late. Or maybe they had a screaming child in the back, or were rushing to get to hospital. And maybe they flicked you ‘the bird’ – i.e. stuck their finger up at you and laughed. That’s all they are equipped to do at that time.

Maybe a business deal has gone out of control a little and you think the person is being unreasonable or stitching you up. Remember, they are just doing the best they can with what they’ve got.

I could go on and on with examples and really labour the point, but just think about your own life and interactions with people.

How would you behave and respond differently if you decided to believe that they were doing the best they could given the resources they have at the time.

Resources I should add, doesn’t mean things. It can mean character traits, skills (soft and hard), personality, history, upbringing, beliefs. Basically something they are using to make decisions and perform actions.

A presupposition isn’t necessarily true. It can be, but it’s doesn’t have to be.

Here’s the distinction.  You decide it to be true.

And that makes all the difference. Because when all is said and done, that’s what we really have – our own version of what’s true and not true.

Think about it. Was there something in the past that you were certain was ‘true’ but later turned out not to be ‘true’.

So by believing that presupposition to be actually true:

People do the best they can, with the resources they’ve got at the time

We’re really saying it’s ‘true for us’.

And if it’s really true for us, and we act in accordance with it, then it’s very very difficult to get properly upset or annoyed with other people. If you believe they’ve done the best they can with what they know (and remember you probably know different things and may have more skills), then really you learn the art of tolerance.

I can’t tell you how many times this simple idea has helped me in work, home, relationships and beyond. Even if you’re at a government agency and getting tied down in all the bureaucracy!

I encourage you to adopt this ‘truth’ or ‘belief’ from today.

People do the best they can, with the resources they’ve got at the time

What do you think?