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This article was published on April 4, 2015

Assumption is the mother of all… problems

Assumption is the mother of all… problems
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

Boris is the wise ol’ CEO of TNW who writes a weekly column on everything about being an entrepreneur in tech — from managing stress to embracing awkwardness. You can get his musings straight to your inbox by signing up for his newsletter!

You know the saying ‘Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups’? It’s a very negative way of looking at things of course, but I also want to show you the positive side and present it as a way to see opportunities.

One example is complimenting people. If you bump into a really famous actor, and tell him or her, very sincerely, that you loved their acting in their last movie, you might be surprised at how much they will appreciate that. You might assume that they get swamped with compliments, but that’s not the reality of things at all. They are swamped with people who assume they already get a lot of compliments, who end up just asking for an autograph.

Same goes for authors. When you read a book, or an article, and you like it you might think ‘Oh, this writer is famous, so there no use in contacting them with a compliment’. More often than not however writers LOVE hearing from readers and are more overwhelmed with silence after publishing their work than compliments.

The same goes for friends or business partners who appear on television or are featured in articles. You’ll assume ‘everybody surely already mailed them about this, so I’m not going to pile on with my compliments’. But everybody I know who ever made it to the front page of a magazine or was a guest on a talkshow has the same experience: a lot less reactions than you would expect!

So be the exception. Don’t assume. Write that letter, send that email, make that phone call. Compliment people, even if you think it will be the 1000th compliment of the day. Let them know you’ve read their books, listened to their songs or heard their complaints.

It won’t take much effort, and it will be highly appreciated.

Social share image credit: Popular Fitness/Flickr

Can’t get enough of Boris? Check out his older stories here, and sign up for his newsletter here.

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