What They Do Shouldn’t Matter

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?

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