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Let’s Look At The Facts – A President’s Message

Yesterday morning I was driving to work and the guy in front of me was obviously lost. He was driving slow, looking at street signs, and suddenly, he swerved across two lanes into the left hand turn lane without looking. I saw him all the way so I easily avoided him but he was completely clueless that he even cut me off. He never even saw me.

Of course I was a little irritated and immediately concluded that he was possibly the worst driver I had ever encountered. But then I started to think about it. I remembered the times when I was in an unfamiliar city, looking for street signs and trying to follow directions to a location I had never been to before. I dare say that I have cut off a few motorists in my time, usually without even realizing that I was doing it.

Now I consider myself to be a very good driver, as most people do about themselves. But based upon my 10 second “interaction” with that driver, I came to the definite conclusion that he was an unfit driver and a menace to society. Was that an accurate conclusion? Possibly, but the more likely scenario is that he was an average driver who lost his normal awareness of the road because he was concentrating so hard on finding his way.

So I jumped to a conclusion based upon a very small observation of his driving (ten seconds worth) and my own emotions and prejudices at the time. Would you want to be judged based upon your worst ten seconds or worst ten minutes of a given day? I would think not.

When things get tough, we all have a tendency to make snap decisions and revert back to our own preconceived notions. The current political situation is a glaring example. When the economic picture gets worse and people get scared, they tend to revert back to thinking that “my side has all of the answers”, and that the other side is misinformed, has questionable motives, or worse. What we tend to drop is a reasoned, calm analysis of all available facts, as well as creative solutions that involve compromise and heaven forbid, listening to and seriously considering other viewpoints.

As a business executive, I have learned over the years that my first emotional reaction to a given situation is usually wrong, or at the very least, more extreme than it needs to be. There are few problems that are not best handled by a calm and rational examination of the actual facts. It liberates us when we strive to see the world as it actually exists, as opposed to how we wish it to be and certainly not as an amalgamation of our predisposed notions and prejudices.

I sometimes say to people around the office, “When all else fails, let’s look at the facts.” When you take a step back and force yourself to do so, it usually leads you in the right direction.

President Tom Londen The Londen Companies Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance

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