I know a guy, let’s call him Phil, whose mantra is “people are stupid.” He goes around saying it all the time. Anytime someone disagrees with him or doesn’t fully buy into what he’s saying, instead of going back and examining what he said, he just repeats his mantra “people are stupid”, complains about them for a bit and moves on with his life.
To be fair, when I spent a lot of time with Phil, I did tend to see a lot of stupid people, but I can’t help but think that saying “people are stupid” is a cop-out. If you think with all your heart, that people are stupid, you’ll begin to notice all the people who do stupid things (because that’s what you’re looking for). It’s called confirmation bias. You see what you’re looking for and then use it as proof to confirm your theory that indeed, you’re right after all. This reinforces your original idea and pretty soon you have a snowballing view of pessimism towards people. Even if you’re right, it’s not a very fun way to go through life.
The cool part about this is when you expect people to be awesome, they usually are.
- When you challenge a few people to jump out of a plane with you, you might end up with 40-some people signing up to do it with you.
- You might find some guy walking across the United States and decide to do a road trip with him.
- Or a meet a guy that flies all over the world finding out the prices of xyz and abc.
- Or some girls trying to upend the fashion industry.
- Or maybe you’ll meet a guy that loves the paleo diet as much as he loves pushups and gives talks at Google for fun.
The more you expect people to be awesome, the more awesome people you’ll find. When you challenge people to do the impossible. They somehow manage to do it. You almost always get what you’re looking for.
People will be exactly what you expect them to be. If you’re looking to be disappointed by them, you probably will be. If you’re hoping to be pleasantly surprised by them, you probably will be.
There are plenty of awesome people in the world. If you’re not noticing them, maybe you need to change the people you spend time with.
What impossible things are you expecting the people in your world to do?