Presuppose Greatness

One of the things I consistently see people doing is presupposing problems.

We’re all trained by our educations to look for problems. Mistakes were the most frequent things pointed out in our work. Follow any weekend warrior sporting event and you’ll plenty of folks beating themselves up over the shot they missed.

The simplest presupposition there is, is existence. When you talk about something, there’s a presupposition that it must exist or else your statement won’t make sense. If I ask you if you saw the frogglewomp, you’ll rightly ask me what one is. You’d be assuming that there is such a thing until you had a chance to check it out (Google says there’s no such thing if you’re wondering).

When you’re communicating with people, there’s a strong tendency to talk about what we’re noticing, what we think the other person might be noticing or what we’d like them to notice. If we’re noticing problems and talking about problems, that’s what the other person will notice too.

The thing of it is that if you’re the one sending the message, the other person is usually going to go along with your presuppositions. If you say call me if you have any problems, the person is then going to be looking for problems. If you say call me with any success stories or other feedback, the other person will be more inclined to expect good things.

If you want people to expect to have a good experience with you, it helps for you to presuppose greatness in as many of your interactions as possible. The way to form a habit of that is to notice things that are going right. Tony DiCicco, coach of the US Women’s Soccer team, wrote a book called Catch Them Being Good. If you get in the habit of noticing good things, you’ll notice more good things. You’ll communicate positive expectations more often.

In the interest of disclosure you’ll need to convey things that you can’t put as positive a spin on. At least that’s what my parole officer says (just kidding).  When that happens, do your best to reframe it as a positive, talk about it in the past tense or nominalize it. All those techniques are covered in my “Be A Hypnotic Writer” course.

Instead of only noticing the shot you missed, notice what you did right in the approach and what you’d try differently the next time. Notice that you had the guts to try.

The point is to presuppose greatness more often. Talk about it and people will assume it exists. They’ll set their expectations accordingly.

Give it a try and see what happens.

40 Responses

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