Presume Innocence

Presume innocence.? What a nice mantra for life (if not for all, at least for?many parts of life).? This has come up a number of times in my seminars and keynotes of late.? The idea is that when we decide to ?presume innocence? on the part of?others, we are often more flexible, resilient, and effective in responding or dealing with the challenges in life.

Let?s look at an example.? Your boss has?promised to meet with you at 3:00 p.m. today.? It?s 3:25 p.m. and your boss is nowhere to be found.??You might be tempted?to think ?How inconsiderate!? Why?doesn?t she?value my time??.? This thinking might cause you great anxiety and tension, so that when your boss does finally arrive to meet with you, you will be less effective in the meeting because you are distracted by your negative emotions.? Now imagine that you presume innocence on the part of your boss.? You might think ?I am sure something critical came up for her.? She would have called me had she thought of it; perhaps I neglected to?tell her how important this meeting is to me.? When she gets in, I?ll be sure to tell her.?? When your boss arrives, you will be feeling much more resourceful in your meeting with her, and you can reinforce with her what you?d like her to do the next time she is running late.

The idea is, presuming innocence reminds you that generally speaking, and for the most part, the other person is not trying to negatively impact your day.? That person does not have the intention to mistreat you, and if that is the effect of their behaviour, they don?t know it (and you have to let them know).

I remind myself constantly to presume innocence.? I find that the gift of this presumption is to myself; I am better able to communicate what I need from people and I have access to the more positive emotions I need to help me to be more effective overall.

Tell me about a time you presumed innocence.? What was the situation?? How did it work for you?

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