One of Life’s Greatest Lessons

When I wrote yesterday I spoke of something that happened many years ago, I make it sound like it was so long ago. The truth is my life has gone through so many changes in such a short period of time that it truly feels like so many years ago.  In actuality it was probably around 1991.  I was in the financial services sector and really enjoying a fast paced and even faster growing industry.  Most of my friends all had securities licenses and all were doing extremely well.  I wanted in on it.  I wanted to have the luxury import sports car. I wanted to jet around on a private jet. I wanted the house in the right neighborhood.  I guess it sort of shows you where my heart was at the time.  In any case, I became friends with a business colleague.  He had it all. Beautiful wife, home, car, office. It truly seemed like the perfect life.  He even had a great sister in law that I dated for a while. In the short time I knew him, he appeared to have it all together.  We would meet on occasion and discuss business with his partners at his investment firm and I was in awe of what he had created.  So much so that during lunch one day I mentioned it to him and basically said that I aspired to be like him.  He was flattered and he also said something that didn’t quite make sense.  Or at least at the time it didn’t fit into our conversation.  He said, “Frank, not everything is as it seems” Very simple statement and I just absorbed it and didn’t ask. 

Things moved along as usual and about a month later I was with his sister in-law, I hadn’t seen my friend in about three weeks so I asked how he was, and she replied with “Oh, you didn’t hear?  He is going through a divorce and is selling the car, the home and his partnership” I was stunned.  I had conjured up in my mind and believed based on my own assumptions what his life was like and yet, it was the furthest thing from the truth.  I wanted all he had and I believed he had the perfect life.  Yet, if I had looked closer and perhaps wasn’t so hung up on the things he had and what I wanted, I would have seen or been given a glimpse of a very different picture.  The point is, I jumped to my own conclusion based on what I saw, on appearances only and didn’t know the truth. 

 

How many times do we jump to conclusions, or make assumptions about what someone is like not knowing anything about them.  Whether it’s true or not is a different issue altogether.  We can be so quick to judge and never leave the opportunity for the ‘what if’ scenario.  Imagine this; we see a young man rummaging through the dumpster.  Now we know nothing about him other than he is poorly dressed and his hygiene is not good and he searching for who knows what in that dumpster.  Are we quick to judge and say things like ‘I can’t believe he hasn’t got a job, he’s young enough to be working, certainly seems able bodied.’  What if this was just another one of the many things he did during the day besides mowing lawns and he also collects aluminum cans to earn whatever he can to support his younger brothers and sisters, as his father isn’t around.  Would that change how we saw him? Probably. We may even go over and give him a few dollars or give him some of that food we have that we would consider leftovers.  The point is NOT EVERYTING IS AS IT SEEMS.

Keep that in mind whenever you are ready to jump to any conclusion and always give the benefit of the doubt to the other person.  You just never know.  We could be completely wrong about them or the situation.  That one statement has made a huge difference in my life and how I personally see people or how I walk into any situation, business or personal.

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