TF50#100, “Have A Good One” 12 December 2022

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #100 – wow, we made it to 100.

Would you describe yourself as a. or b?

  1. Edgy, working hard to be offended.
  2. Chill, willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

For well over a decade, I have ended most of my emails with, “Have a good one, Alex”, as any of you would know that have read even one of the last 99 TN50’s.

Ending a communication with “Have a good one”, holds a special place in my heart based on a very significant time in my life back in early 1999.  I was attending a land navigation course; this course was the most precisely executed course I ever attended in my 25-year military career.  Wait, actually it was the most professional course I have ever attended in my entire life; every cadre member I interacted with was someone I admired and wanted to work with.

A good many days and miles into this adventure, when the stress was pretty heavy, the cadre began releasing me back out onto the land navigation course with the phrase, “have a good one.”  Being a glass half full kind of a guy, I took this to mean one or more of the following:

  1. You got this!
  2. You’re crushing it!
  3. Kick Ass!
  4. Don’t quit!
  5. Your almost done!
  6. Stud!

Of course, none of these extrapolations were true.  The cadre members were simply following their script and, like every other part of the course, the interpretation of all interactions was completely up to the subjective mindset of the student.

Decades later, as a civilian, I was responding to an email from “THE BOSS” about a security situation that had just occurred near one of our foreign HQ’s, we didn’t have all the details surrounding the situation but we did know that the situation was contained by local authorities, and that it was a very small, in scale, event.

My response that morning, to THE BOSS, was hurried, from my mobile, as I boarded a 4-hour flight to the east coast, I laid out all the details of what my team knew at that time and what we knew from the authorities.  As I was getting “the look” from one of our flight-attendants I quickly wrapped up the email, signing off, “Have a good one, Alex”, I made sure the email launched, put my phone in airplane mode, smiled at the attendant and finally enjoyed my lukewarm coffee.

When the plane landed a few hours later, I put my mobile back into operation to find the digital shit had hit the smartphone fan!  THE BOSS was hot and the intermediate boss was doing damage control and also hot.  Had I gotten the information wrong?  No.  Had new information come in painting a much more dire situation for the company?  No.  Had I ended an email with, “Have a good one, Alex”?  Yes.

Now in all fairness it was a dumb closing for me to use BUT to take the time to be personally offended by it is something I could never get my mind wrapped around.  Suffice to say, THE BOSS did not interpret, “Have a good one” as a linguistic bridge to “peace and joy” the way I always had interpreted it.  THE BOSS was offended!  It’s kind of funny now but at the time it cost me an easy 10 hours of work putting that screw-up to bed.

So how do you operate, are you one of those people working hard to be offended?  You know what I’m talking about!  Or are you operating in a more relaxed state, one in which you often give people the benefit of the doubt.

In my opinion as long as you are not blind to the dangers of this world in all the domains: physical, emotional, financial…  you are better off being more relaxed.

So what’s it going to be for 2023?  Offended or relaxed?  I’ll leave you with something I recently heard in a book I was audibling; I apologize I can’t recall what the book title is or author’s name.

Here is the idea, “What if every time you disagreed or argued with anyone you internally recognized that they are at least 10% right?”  Now I am sure you can think of the occasional exception to the rule but this idea has a lot of merit.

There’s the challenge, next time you’re getting into it at work, at home, at the bar, on an email thread, on Twitter…  Engage your adversary acknowledging that they are at least 10% correct and let me know how it goes sometime down the road in 2023!  My guess is this will save you a lot of time, physically, mentally and emotionally – your welcome!

As always share the post with your team or anyone who might find it useful and let me know what you think!

(Eat shit! HaHa, just kidding) Have a good one, Alex