Are You Aware You are Making Assumptions?
Do you ever stop yourself and ask, “How do I know?” or do you jump to conclusions?
Assuming really can make an ass out of u and me. Assuming can also be the reason you do not consider an opportunity or idea.
There are two sets of assumptions when working with another person: yours and theirs.
Our team discussed how important it is to engage and take a step back during conversations to examine any assumptions. There are many ways to be aware of others making assumptions during conversations, asking assumption discovery questions like, “My sense is that you may not be all that interested in this opportunity based upon…” “Why do you think or feel this way?” “On what basis do you believe … and how do you know this is the case?”
At The Richmond Group USA, we practice having the confidence to challenge assumptions that may hinder motivations and desires to pursue, perceive and obtain great opportunities.
In the book Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect: Transforming Law Enforcement and Police Training, authors Jack Colwell and Chip Huth write:
We automatically tend to assume the following:
The way I see something is the way it is.
The way I feel about someone is the way he or she is.
The way I remember an event is the way it was.
If you disagree with me, you are stupid, a liar, or psychotic (disconnected from reality).
The irony is that this assumptive thought base (all problems and misunderstandings are external to me) IS the apex of self-imposed ignorance, deception, and even psychosis. Probably the only reason it is not considered pathological is that it is endemic.
Why do we naturally make assumptions? Assumptions are an efficient way to process the world. Our brain saves energy by making assumptions. Analyzing each situation without any bias or assumptions takes a lot of energy, attention and self-awareness. Our brains look to our experiences to find patterns in how the world works (Or how we have perceived the world in former times). When we encounter new situations, we apply these patterns or assumptions to the new environment.
Next time (because there will absolutely be a next time) you find yourself assuming something, stop and ask yourself:
“What do I really know for sure and what don’t I know?” “What assumptions am I making that have led to my decision?”
The more you evolve your thinking and become conscious of your assumptive thinking the better informed you will be in all areas of your life.
Becoming aware of your assumptions is the start of limitless opportunities.