Category Archives: Psychology

Benefit of the Doubt

Sometimes people disappoint us. I’ve learned a few frameworks that help me think about these type of things.

Sometimes people are overly optimistic and they really had the best intentions. I remember reading this from Derek Siver’s post about LA.

Not just LA but California is the most optimistic place on earth. The side-effects of this can confuse outsiders. When you say, “Will you come to my event?” or, “Want to help with this project?” – they will almost always say yes, full of enthusiasm, and actually 100% sincere, fully intending to be there, to help, whatever. They honestly and optimistically think that they will be there and do it. They have the best of intentions. But when it actually comes to that time, and they’ve optimistically said “yes!” to a dozen other things too, or perhaps they’re just nestled in the comfort of their California home, then… well… they reluctantly “flake” – and won’t follow through. Don’t get bitter and write them off as fake, or backstabbers. Just understand that it’s a side-effect of sincere optimism, and adjust your expectations accordingly. Source

Rewriting reality or create mental illusions that help drive your actions for the better. Assume there were good reasons for their behavior.

 Rewrite Reality – Changing your belief is easier than trying to suppress or ignore you feelings. Think about how it is positive. e.g. if someone cuts you off on the road, assume it is someone who urgently needs to get to the hospital. Source

Follow Rules or Formulas – You can use rules that guide behavior even if they’re not 100% correct or even if you don’t understand how they work. Source

Don’t be taken advantage of, but be willing to forgive.

Generous Tit-for-Tat
Start out as a giver, but once a counterpart acts as a taker, act as a matcher. Pure tit-for-tat might be too strict so adopt a generous tit-for-tat strategy: never forget a good turn, but occasionally forgive a bad one (one out of every three). Balances reward of giving and discourages taking without being too punitive. People can change. Wait long enough and people can surprise you. Source