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Auto Repair Shop Owner's Daily Dose 34: Neighbors (Family)


Neighbors by Rick White, President 180BIZ

I want to talk to you today, as part of my Family Edition, about your neighbors and the divided nature of our country.  I want to talk to you about how we're becoming polarized as to right and wrong, dumb and smart, etc.

Depending upon who you listen to, there are about 11 million bits of data coming into our brains every second. And we're able to consciously be aware of only 500,000 bits. Think about that for a second. There are 11 million bits of data coming into our brains and we are only capable of consciously processing 500,000.

What doesn't change is the disparity. If our minds were completely conscious of everything that was around us, we would go insane. So, we have this device in our brain called the Reticular Activating System or RA for short. The RA filters data. It filters data out based on what's important to us. For example, when I bought my Dodge truck, I saw Dodge trucks everywhere. I just didn't pay attention to them before. But, now, suddenly when I bought the Dodge truck, they were everywhere. Does that mean everyone went out and bought a Dodge truck all at the same time? No, that’s ridiculous. Because it was now in my purview, my mind was looking for situations that would confirm that I made a great purchase.

What you believe is reality is not reality. It's just a little piece of it. We create what we consider to be our reality. And then we judge others’ actions based on our reality, on our rules, on our beliefs, on our experiences. That truth is not what you have inside, it is but a facet because you're only seeing about 500,000 bits of data. You're missing 10.5 million bits every second. The person next to you is aware of a different set of 500,000. It doesn't make them wrong. But we make judgments such as Democrats are morons and Republicans are heartless.  Both are false. Instead of judging someone by your set of beliefs, your values, your experiences, be curious.

I believe that everyone acts with good intentions. I don't believe a person picks up a cigarette to get cancer. I don't believe somebody eats a donut to get diabetes. Understand that we do things with a positive intent to fill a need and that's the vehicle we choose. Before I can do anything, I must understand and appreciate their world. I must see their needs, their wants, their beliefs.

I am the kind of person who will push. I am significance driven, a steamroller. That's just the way I am. However, there are other people in my life that are completely security-driven. They walk into every situation looking for safety. Is this situation safe or is it unsafe? That's their primary question. I, on the other hand, walk in and ask myself, “How do I make a difference? How can I stand out? How can I help?” Am I going to be valued or ignored? That's my primary question.

This doesn’t make them wrong and it doesn’t make me right. It's a facet of the same reality. I will ask you right now to please suspend judgment. You may be talking to someone where you worked hard. Where you had certain people in your life that saw something in you and poured into you and helped you become who you are today. My mom and dad were two of those people. My scoutmaster, my best friend's dad was another one, and my wife Brenda, she's amazing. There are four people right there, and I've got a friend Isaac and Chuck, and Jimmy. And that's why I am who I am today.

But maybe that person you're judging right now had a harder time than you did. Perhaps they didn't have people who believed in them in their life. So maybe instead of judging them, become that person for them. Understand and appreciate them. Understand what's going on in their life.

I've had shop owners come to me and say, “Rick, I got this technician. He just did the dumbest thing I've ever seen somebody do.”  I reply, “Stop, go talk to your tech. Ask him what was going on. I guarantee you the actions he took made 100% sense to him.” So, don't judge people. We are all but one big facet, one big family, and we are meant to complement each other. We’re meant to expand each other's perception of reality, our perspective. And there is so much power in that. So please for today, suspend judgment. When you see somebody doing something, ask yourself:

  • Why are they doing that?
  • What need are they filling?
  • Where's this coming from?

When you can step back and get curious, it will be amazing. I was talking to a shop owner this past week and he was complaining about a customer who was insistent about only wanting an oil change. When I asked him what he did, he said that he did the oil change and nothing else. But you see, that's the problem. The shop owner wasn’t curious. He judged the customer as a waste of your time and wasn’t curious. I guarantee you something that happened in the customer’s past to make him act that way. Perhaps his prior shop took advantage of him and he is putting up a wall now to protect himself. I can't help this person with a wall up, nor do I want to fight against the wall. I want to embrace the wall. I want to hug it. I want to understand it. So please take the time to be curious.

Be curious when your kid does something stupid. Step back and wonder what made them do that? What did they see that I didn’t? What made them do that? You might be actually surprised. So, my thought for today, suspend judgment and get a whole lot more curious. The Indians have this, “You can't see or know another person until you've walked a mile in his shoes, in his moccasins.” That's true. You can't look at somebody else's actions and apply your rules to it. It doesn't work.

Instead, understand their rules. Understand what they're doing. Don't judge them. Help them. Be someone that cares about them. Let them know they matter. Take interest in someone else. Stay curious and just step back and just ask why are they doing that? What don't I understand about them? So be curious. Make it a great day today. It's your choice.

God bless.

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