Assume Positive Intent

<EDIT: So, there once was this great video- which was taken down from Vimeo today 1.26.11 – it featured Road Runner & Coyote up to their usual tricks.  Coyote tried & tried again to eat RR – but failed.  Each time he tried some sort of crazy thing would happen- he was hit by a bus, a car, a truck, and then about 20 more trucks…etc – it was worth a great laugh.  I’m sorry it’s no longer available to us.  A smilar video might be here:


While this video is not the same in any respect of the manner… Coyote still tries & tries again and has a rough go at it.  Plus, I always think Coyote/RR videos are worth a good chuckle. Enjoy >



This video speaks a lot for itself.  Somedays I think we all feel like the coyote.  I know I had about a 4 week period where I felt like the coyote when it came to working my assistantship in Housing during the fall.  It was a rough time between myself and one of my co-workers.

Fortunately, for me, this time didn’t impact my relationship with my student staff nor most of my other co-workers.  But, there was a time where I felt like I could not do anything right with this one person.

What Mr. Coyote does throughout this video clip (3 min long) which is important is that he keeps trying.  I’m not going to ruin the ending for ya though.

In my case, the ending turned out that this person and I sat down to a really good 1:1 and talked through what had happened over the past few weeks.  The first thing we both realized is that we both contributed to the problem.  The second thing we figured out is that neither of us were assuming positive intent on the behalf of the other person.  This second factor turned out to be huge.

As in the video, everything that happened to Mr. Coyote was no one’s fault.  Yes, the trucks kept hitting Mr. Coyote.  But, no one orchestrated the trucks hitting Mr. Coyote.. Now true, the Road Runner did stuck his tongue out in a pretty rude fashion….

Going back to my story, it was no one’s fault that I had a rough few weeks with this one person.  I think things like that just happen.

My word of encouragement is two fold.  First; like Mr. Coyote, don’t give up.  If you are really in the wrong, you will know it.  Second; try to amend things between you and those who you need to work with – particularly if things aren’t going so well.

On a completely separate but related tangent, I read this book with my supervisor (and my peer group of GA’s in this department) back in the Fall and it was a huge help to how to be a ResLife manager of staff.  I also recommended this book last night to a professional at another school.

The book is ~140 pages total and a very quick read.

So- to recap: sometimes things just happen, sometimes you need to be the ‘bigger person’ and step up to work through them, and it helps to turn to those around you for support.

Also- if you are ever just watching your Twitter Feed and you see a link; click on it- you never know what kind of blogging idea you can get. 😉 Thank you @momentaryawe (who doesn’t even know me).


2 responses to “Assume Positive Intent

  1. Good reminder, Brian! You are right — forgetting to assume positive intent can have a huge impact on making small misunderstandings a much larger issue.

  2. Thanks for the reminder that assuming intent can cause issues. I am working to always assume positive intent.

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