Several months ago I was meeting up with a friend who is frequently 5-10 minutes late. It might be traffic or oversleeping. All legitimate reasons, but, late nonetheless. On this particular morning, I went through my normal mental gymnastics deciding whether I should attempt to complete a task before leaving for our meeting, or whether I should leave a couple minutes early.
This is a major dilemma. There’s no need to leave earlier that I normally do since I know how long it will take me to get to the meeting. On the flip side, I don’t like to start things and not finish them. So by starting this task, I risk not putting it down until it’s complete and being late for my meeting. You see the challenge here, right?
After some self-bantering, I decided I was going to complete this task, and ended up leaving about 10 minutes late. My justification in starting in the first place is that he’s usually a couple minutes late, so I had some margin. Here’s what I didn’t anticipate: leaving 10 minutes later than usual put me right in the middle of rush hour traffic. You guessed it: with my head held low, I walked into our meeting 20 minutes late!
Had I done what I know is the right thing for me to do, regardless of what others do, I would have been waiting on my friend, not the other way around. And as much as I hate waiting on people, I’d much rather wait on them then be the person they’re waiting on. My point: what others do should never influence what you’re going to do.
What are some times in your life where you made a decision based on someone else’s past behavior only to find it caused more trouble?