Motivational Speaker Asks – Do You Assume the Worst?

motivational_speaker_linda_larsenAs a motivational speaker I fly a lot.  And there is no better place to study human nature than in the friendly (or not so friendly) skies. Such was the case yesterday.

I boarded the plane, stored my bag in the overhead and sat down. I hesitated to put my computer bag under the seat in front of me since, because I was in the aisle seat, there was an obstructed amount of space there.  I decided to wait until the passenger claimed the window seat next to me to see how much of the remaining space she would need.

She arrived a few minutes later and, as it turns out, didn't put anything in the space under the seats in front of us. I turned to her, smiled and said, "Hi. It appears you aren't going to use any of the space underneath the seats so I think I'll grab my computer bag and put it there. If it in anyway encroaches into your space, just let me know and I'll move it." Again, I'm smiling.

She (not smiling) looked at me and paused. I could see that she was trying to figure out what I was up to. Finally she said, "Whatever," and looked away.

Huh? "Whatever?"

The first thing that occured to me was that she assumed that I was saying or doing something negative – or something that she shouldn't like. And because that was what she assumed – it colored her response to me accordingly.

Once again, those damned assumptions.

I read somewhere once that around 80 to 90 percent of all our thoughts are negative. I don't know if that's true, but I do know this. WHATEVER thought first occurs to me – there is a little space that follows it wherein I can decide if I want to go with that thought or not. That is MY little space! It's where I give meaning to everything I perceive. It's where my personal power lives and breathes.

And yes, I forget about that space sometimes – but I always come back to the realization that it is there and that…


Have erroneous assumptions ever tripped you up?




Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Yes – I quoted my fee one time and the prospect gasped on the phone in surprise.  Not wanting to lose the deal, I quickly make the biggest rookie mistake of my career, I said "But, since I really want to work with you, I can reduce my fee to fit into your budget."  Whoops! I assumed that her gasp was because my fee was too high.  She surprsed me by saying how surprised she was that my fee was so low. Totally wrong assumtion.  Now, I know to say the next time I hear a gasp, "I know, it's so low isn't it?" :)

  2. Yes – yesterday another motivational speaker friend left a phone message saying they needed to talk to me about a "sensitive" issue. Right away my mind went racing, "What could I have possibly said or done that might have created an issue?" "Did she hear something about me that is negative?" After a few minutes of crazy I literally said, "STOP! Practice what you preach." So, I decided until I spoke with her, gained clarity and her truth, I wasn't going to invest mind time and went about my day. A few hours later I chuckled as it turns out she was looking for skin advice from another Retin A user. Guess I was being a bit "sensitive" in my assumption. Great blog, Linda.

  3. I think the word "whatever" should be banned from verbal communication.

    I'm just saying.

    Great post, Linda!

  4. I wish I could find the writings of a child psychologist I was given when my babies were very little.  He basically stated: Don't assume there's a problem.  What he was saying was that as new parents we buy into the notions of "terrible twos" and bablies not liking certain foods and them being afraid of big dogs, etc.  The fact of the matter is, as a parent with these assumptions in place WE are the ones who give off the vibe of the negative reaction and sure enough, they WILL react the way we're assuming.  It was excellent advice back then and it's still excellent advice now.  It's that breathing space you mention, Linda, where you can decide how you're going to react.  Loving this reminder! 

  5. Thank you Linda Larsen!  That little space might just be the most valuable time we spend all day!

  6. Reminds me of an old story I did called "Assumptions Kick Our Butt."

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