Last week, I sat in the room with some pretty amazing entrepreneurs that were the epitome of high-level thinking. They say if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Well, I was in the right room. No doubt.
Suddenly, the leader of our group that day said something that gave us all a common denominator. Not only were we all human…. but, we all had the incredible ability to assume the negative. It turns out that our human brains, unless trained to do differently, will take circumstances we don’t have all the facts to and fill in the blanks with something bad, most often the worst case scenario.
For example, you send a text message to a person you really want to hear back from. Hours go by and you receive no response. Nothing. Crickets…
Where does your brain go? Duh. This person is obviously choosing to ignore you, got in an accident, are super pissed off for that thing you don’t know you did OR they’re just blowing you off and silence is the way to go.
But reality could very well be that this person was caught in a really long meeting, had a dead phone with no charger, lost their phone, is just too consumed with something else and put the phone aside vowing to not look at it for the next 5 hours.
I’d like to think that I see the sunnier side of things; that I am the ‘glass is half full’ kind of gal. But, hearing this made me realize that I absolutely do this myself! If someone is late, I worry that something bad has happened or they have no respect for my time. If I get a dirty look from someone I pass in the hallway, I immediately wonder what I may have done wrong. Sure, the thoughts may cross my mind that they are upset about something else and I just caught the tail end of a reaction, but I can’t lie – my brain definitely goes to the assumption of something being wrong and that something must have something to do with me.
Regardless of confidence and how we feel about ourselves, it turns out that this is a natural programmed reaction that our brains just have. The brilliant benefit of learning about this automated reaction was that now I am aware of it and can talk my brain down from the dramatic ledge. “It’s probably not that bad, Summer, you may step down from the peak of drama and resume with your life.”
I don’t always assume the worst, but when I do, I just make sh*t up.