Assume Positive Intent

By Mike / On / In Knowledge

Today, as I began carefully sifting through the emotional minefield of my inbox, I got this:

Absolutely Unacceptable

Clearly the person tasked with sending this email was so distraught over the news that they accidentally typed the thing foremost on their mind into the subject field and forgot to fill in the other fields before, overcome with grief, they hit send.

I understand completely.

Inevitable Update

Today I received the inevitable follow-up to what was obviously someone’s goof.

Inevitable Followup

These guys also reached out to me personally to let me know how incredibly sick they were at their mistake. The good news is, it was just an honest-to-goodness error and not something more sinister. This is why we always assume positive intent.


By Mike / On / In Personal

The rain started in Amsterdam early, early this morning. The city seems to shake and groan as water pours down from above in sheets. This is not happy rain. This is not the kind of warm rain you take a romantic and fatalistic walk through. It’s the kind of rain you must simply accept, washing over your entire life, whose only promise is that this too must pass.

Nobody can claim to be surprised by this weather, after enjoying so many days of glorious sunshine. Over the weekend every street cafe was open, every boat was on the canal. We all knew, all told each other, that the sun wouldn’t last, that the rain would come. We told ourselves that, steeled ourselves against the coming winter.

There are places that deny the weather, where it rains all the time, but nobody ever carries an umbrella. In this place, people are always aware of the weather, always aware that though the sun may shine, rain is always just over the horizon. Nobody considers this morbid, a dour pessimism that sours the smell of sunlight.

Rather, it is the memory of rain that drives us to soak up the sun every opportunity we get, the knowledge of it that drives us to try to stay dry. If we let the rain surprise us each time, or if we live in constant denial of it, we will never understand the weather, the atmosphere, or our place within it. We will simply be wet, and dry, and wet again.

If we prepare, if we are ever cognizant of the impermanence inherent in nature, we can be ready for the rain when it comes. You can keep your clothes warm and your hair in order. What it seems like you can never avoid, which perhaps we should learn to savor as being part of this planet, is the feeling of raindrops running down your face.