We have all heard that negativity can crush our chances for success, holding us down and keeping our dreams and talents from shining through.
When we focus more on the negative aspects of ourselves instead of the ways in which we are amazing, or when we surround yourself with negative people, it can be almost impossible to move forward.
Joel Brown wrote a great article about the ways negativity holds us back from success.
The aspect of negativity that I think people don’t consider because they don’t understand how it limits their potential for success is assuming negative intent in others.
It is somewhat easy to recognize when you are being negative with yourself, or when you hear others complaining, but what about your expectations of others intent?
Here are the three most common ways we assume negative intent in others and subsequently sabotage our own success:
1. We are afraid to share our ideas with others because we think they will steal them
Getting feedback on your ideas, whether they are new business ideas or ways to improve something at work, is one of the best ways to determine if they have real value.
The truth is, most people do not have the drive and motivation to take an idea and create something with it.
You do have that motivation, that’s why you are worried (and also why you are here).
But we all need mentors, supporters, and even critics to help us succeed.
Stop focusing on the potential for someone to take your idea, and put it out where you can get feedback and make it the very best version of your idea that it can be.
That is what will make you a success.
2. We assume others intentionally disrespect us or have it out for us
Everyone has bad days, and everyone makes mistakes.
We get stood up for a meeting, someone snaps at us in front of others, or someone seems to not be following through on a promise, and we automatically believe they are out to get us.
Often times, however, there are circumstances of which we are not aware that contribute to the incident.
A family emergency, an argument with a spouse or other third party, bad news about an investment or opportunity they were pursuing.
It is easy to take the hurt or embarrassment we are feeling out on the other person, causing the situation to spiral out of control.
Taking a step back from those immediate feelings and asking why the other person responded as they did can make a huge impact on the relationship and keep it intact.
Healthy, productive relationships are the cornerstone of all successful people and businesses.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it” – Eckhart Tolle
3. We assume others will take advantage of our trust and kindness
Much broader than just assuming someone will steal a great business idea, we often think someone trying to sell us something is going to swindle us, or the coworker who wants our input on a project just doesn’t want to do the work.
There will always be bad people who take advantage of others, and we do have to be careful not to let others take our generosity for granted.
However, walking into any interaction with the assumption someone intends to take advantage sets the entire experience up for failure.
Unless you know that someone habitually takes advantage of you or others, give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them as a partner or ally.
You never know when that person may be the person you needed to meet or work with in that moment, and assuming they are just taking advantage of you will never allow that to come through.
“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” – Charles F. Glassman
All three of these attitudes can lead to self-fulfilling prophesies in your relationships and business deals.
People can sense when they are not trusted or when someone feels uncomfortable with them.
They in turn become defensive and untrusting, and it becomes incredibly difficult to get the relationship or interaction back on track.
Check your attitudes and intentions before interacting with others.
Keep an open mind about how you can having meaningful and beneficial relationships with everyone.
Assuming negative intent in others holds you back from success by damaging relationships and keeping you from learning and growing, but you can change your thought patterns.
Do you have examples of this in your own life? Or specific techniques you have used to change thought patterns? We’d love to hear from you!