“You don’t know what’s in the package until you open it.” ~Unknown
When you receive a package do you spend time guessing what’s inside and assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations. We might miss something wonderful because the situation doesn’t come wrapped in a pretty package, and we discard it without looking past appearances. Or we might too quickly accept something based on its attractive wrapping and set ourselves up for disappointment.
We use this approach with all kinds of life situations, and we can’t always back out of the holes we dig for ourselves. Too often we accept our assumptions about a job, people, how we spend our money, a trip we plan to take, a home we buy, companies for repair work, and even food past the expiration dates. The list doesn’t end. That’s life. Just think about everything you do or need on a daily basis. Do you manage your life based on assumptions, or do you open the package and see what’s inside…to see what you’re getting?
“Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by.” John Sales
One time I had a supervisor who pushed my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I wanted to keep the job, so I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find she had qualities I’d not seen before. And we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.
Then later I moved to a different city and searched for a job in my field. But the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting–definitely not a package I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my first impression.
“Do not blindly follow anyone or anything. Always seek the truth out for yourself.” ~Unknown
Nobody gets it right all the time, and we all know what it feels like to end up where we don’t want to be. But we don’t want to be a skeptic about everything either. So when you need to make a sound judgment about something, a few rules might help to reach an accurate conclusion, at least most of the time.
1. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.
2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You’d be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.
3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.
4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who’ve had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half…answers.
5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.
6. When you feel ready, review your information, check your feelings, and act.
Of course, there are times when people, places, and situations we encounter are true to our first impression. But things aren’t always what they seem. And it’s usually worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping and open the package without judgment and find what’s really there. As least we won’t have to look back and wonder what might have been.
I wish you happy discoveries.
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