Giving benefit of a doubt to everyone!

A definition of "giving a benefit of a doubt to someone" I found somewhere on the Internet is "to believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either" - which basically means - if someone you know does something strange/wrong, you assume he either made a mistake or had good intentions... instead of flat out thinking he's a bad person.

Why am I writing about this? Because I believe we should give benefit of a doubt to everyone!
Everyone-is-good
Benefit of a doubt in the family (or among friends)

We are used to giving benefit of a doubt to people closest to us. The ones who we know very well. Because, well, we know for a fact they are good people. And even more - we know they like/love us so they wouldn't do anything against us, right? Exactly.

Assume everyone is good, because well... almost everyone is.

I prefer to assume everyone is good. I say we give the benefit of a doubt to everyone as they (you) all deserve it. When you do that, the life and people seem just better and the positive thinking about others transmits your positive attitude to them. And most of the people are really good.

Don't let exceptions spoil your life

Somewhere I read a great business advice: "because one customer screws you over, don't make the life of the rest of your customers miserable". And an example quoted there was really cool: "When you run a restaurant with restrooms and someone pees on the floor in the restroom, clean it up and don't put a sign saying: NO PEEING ON THE FLOOR - it will make most of your customers, who don't have a habit of peeing on the floor uneasy and won't prevent you from having another guy do this sometime in the future."

This applies to business as well as life

Very often when we design something for the customers in Nozbe (and a great example is our 60-day money back guarantee) I get questions from my team: "what if someone tries to cheat us?" I always have the same answer: "We'll know that anyway. We'll ask them to stop. And we'll move on. Most of our customers will not cheat us and they'll appreciate what we've done. And even if the ones who cheated got away with something extra, we have at least a good deed on our account :-)"

It's not about being naive. We do have to stay alert and react accordingly when someone does something bad, but let's not deal with this for too long - most of the people we deal with do good things. And we thank them for that!

Wouldn't the world be better if we gave everyone the benefit of a doubt?

I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 (business,life)