Positive Intention Behind Every Behavior

One time, many years ago, I was lighting firecrackers for the 4th of July and having a great time like a young kid should. Out of nowhere, my neighbor scales the fence while blurting out profanities at the top of his lungs, admonishing me to get down and cease what I was doing at once. Sensing the urgency of the situation although I was seriously confused, I ducked down.

When my neighbor realized that I was only lighting off fireworks, he worked himself out of his frenzy into a calmer state. He told me the story of how he was a war veteran for the US military and when he heard what sounded like gunshots, he instinctively dropped to the ground. That's why admonished me to do the same. Only when I understood his background did I understand why he did what he did.

Without that automatic instinct to drop down upon hearing gunshot-like noises, he could have died had he been in war. There was a positive intention behind his behavior except his behavior no longer was valid for the particular context of me lighting off 4th of July fireworks. However, his behavior was absolutely necessary in a fighting context where his life is at stake. This is what it means that for every behavior, no matter how seemingly bizarre, there is an appropriate context for it.

If someone does something that makes you want to react in an unresourceful manner, let the idea that there is a positive intention motivating every behavior come back to you. Upon doing this, give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Even if someone has a bad habit, there is a positive intention behind it. When you were less confident, there was a positive intention behind that. The positive intention most likely was to protect you from getting rejected because up until now, you did not have the resource strategies that are outlined in this book to have unstoppable confidence and realize there is no such thing as rejection nor failure.

For empowering yourself in your life, a useful belief to hold is this: there is a positive intention motivating every behavior and a context in which every behavior has value. No matter how ridiculous or unresourceful someone's behavior apparently is, there is an underlying positive intention to it or else the person would not do it. If ever you find yourself feeling stuck or wronged by another person, remember that the other person's behavior has a positive intention behind it. Too often, people ascribe a negative intention to another's behavior and emphatically exclaim, "They're out to get me!" Go back to being the reverse paranoid. The reverse paranoid believes the universe is perfect and good and will align to work with you to get your goals. If someone does something wrong, always mind read positively. By mind reading positively, I mean that we can imagine a circumstance or a thinking pattern in which doing whatever action they did would make perfect sense. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Having this idea means to you that you will experience less frustration in the world and cause you to stay resourceful and out of a victim mentality.

No matter how seemingly inappropriate a behavior is, there is always at least one context in which a behavior is useful. For example, if someone shows up late, you might give them the benefit of the doubt and stay resourceful instead of getting angry because you realize that there was a positive intention behind their behavior. And perhaps being late is effective for them. If you want to make a grand entrance and have all the eyes turn toward you as enter a dinner party or event, it may behoove you to be late. This means that being late can be a good, resourceful skill to have. Realize you have a positive intention driving your every behavior. No matter what you do or how you behave, you are creating experiences that will serve as resources in your future. Perhaps you are working in a profession completely unrelated to your passion. This may lead you to question, "How on Earth is what I'm doing now going to benefit me?" You may not know how it will benefit you until you are actually living your passion and then you'll be able to look back on your current experience and realize how it has helped you.

Before becoming a real estate entrepreneur, I got my master's degree in computer science and worked as a software engineer for a Fortune 500 company. And all the time I was doing it, I wondered, "How will doing this work serve me in being a real estate investor, public speaker and a writer?" Although I did not know it at the time, I've discovered that the job helped me develop advanced problem solving skills that are applicable anywhere. By working in a successful corporation, I got a close-up look at how things are done. This is useful to me in creating my own corporations. The only way I make money now is by solving problems and thankfully I got good at solving problems in my previous job. Real estate investing and engineering software are completely different yet some of the overriding skills transfer very well.

Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward! -Thomas A. Edison

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