• Bill Johnston

Jumping To Conclusions and other NON-Leadership Exercises


There once was a kindergarten teacher who was celebrating a birthday. Her students were excited to share in it with her because they loved her very much. Several of the children had even brought gifts to school for their teacher.


One little boy approached her with a long, rectangular box. She knew that his parents owned a floral shop, so the teacher smiled and said, "I'll bet this is some pretty flowers. I love flowers!" The little boy watched with barely contained excitement as she opened the box to find it filled with a beautiful bouquet.


A little girl was next in line with her gift and handed the teacher a square box that was rather thick. Since her parents owned a candy store, the teacher said, "I'll bet this is a box of delicious candy." And, sure enough, it was. The little girl squealed with delight at the teacher's approval.


Another little boy had a box that was not large, but was still rectangular in shape. His parents owned a liquor store. As he handed his present to the teacher, she noticed that the bottom of the box was leaking and she was concerned that something inside may have spilled. She ran her hand across the bottom of the wet box and licked her fingers. She looked at the young boy and said, "I'll bet this is a bottle of wine, isn't it?" His eyes widened as he answered, "No, ma'am, it's a puppy!"


While this teacher had guessed what was inside each previous box, her luck ran out on her third try. She jumped to conclusions when it would have been safer to open the box first, before "tasting" it!


Although that is a humorous story, many of us are guilty of making the same mistake. We tend to make up our mind about something before we have heard all the details or facts about a particular issue.


Have you ever noticed that the only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, side-stepping responsibility, and pushing their luck? That is quite a workout program, wouldn't you agree?

It is much wiser to hear the full story before making up your mind about something. There are always two sides to every story and often there are details that could help you to look at the situation in a different light.....if you only knew them. Nothing makes a person wiser than to gather all the facts and data on a particular situation before making up their mind. We would all be far better off if we waited until we heard the whole story before jumping to a conclusion.


I have often thought that is also true when dealing with people who are having a bad day. It is easy to assume that their "grumpy mood" has something to do with me, but it makes much more sense to realize that they did not wake up in the morning, wait for me to come across their path, and then take out their problem on me. Who knows what struggles and situations they may be facing in their life? That's why I always try to go out of my way to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I try to be a "balcony person" in everyone's life, to pull them up and give them a word of encouragement or a compliment. Sometimes it is hard to find one, but it is well worth the effort to try. It always brightens people's day and I think that perhaps it lightens their load as well.


The next time someone gives you a box that is wet on the bottom, I would encourage you not to lick it! I suggest you open it first to see what it is. If it is a bottle of wine and has spilled a little, you can always recover from that. But, if it is a puppy, well - that's another story!

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