Chris Brogan is an author, entrepreneur and thinker. His blog, chrisbrogan.com, is in the Top 5 of the Advertising Age Power150.
In a recent post, “Mind Reading”, he discusses the human tendency to project our thoughts (and fears) of what we perceive someone else is thinking…and make mental presumptions that constrict our behaviors.
Example: You have a good friend who you believe would be a terrific client and one who would greatly benefit from your services...even though you have never actually broached the idea of working together. The voice in your head says, “I’d love to work with them, but I’m sure that they wouldn’t want to discuss this because they are most likely working with someone else.”
The interesting thing about mind-reading is that we all do it...including your good friend!
To follow the above example, it is entirely possible that your friend has a professional issue that they’d like to discuss with you because they really, really trust you. However, they don’t because they have their own voice that is playing in their head saying, “You know, I’d really like to talk to him/her, but I don’t think that I’m the sort of client they’re looking for.”
(This is actually not a far-fetched example. From our research, this happens fairly often where potential clients do not reach out to professionals who they know and trust, because they think that they, i.e. the potential client, does not meet the minimum standards that the professional might require.)
Brogan goes on to say that it's important to stay vigilantly self-aware against "mind-reading". If not, we run the risk of manufacturing these conversations in our head that are more perception than reality. Most likely, these perceptions are incorrect or not wholly true...especially if they are negative.
It would be a shame to live a life of relationships that never happened because of imaginary conversations that convey perceptions that never actually existed.
On another completely unrelated note.
Yesterday, Joan Benoit Samuelson ran in her first Boston Marathon in 18 years. Previously, she had won the race in 1979 and 1983. At 53 years old, Ms. Samuelson had hoped to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials by finishing in 2:46:00 or better.
She didn't make it. Not this time. However, she finished in 2:51:29...the 45th fastest time among all women who ran the race.
For those of you who have ever run a marathon, you know that 2:51 is a super-quick time. To do this at 53 years old is a stunning and inspirational feat...especially for those of us on the north side of the half-century mark.
Thank you Joan!