WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 – All of us make assumptions. We do it all the time. Our brain is wired that way.
Our brains regularly make assumptions on how things work based on a set of internal data that has been collected over time. We hear something and then our brain automatically creates a story. We draw from our memory bank to assimilate current information.
When our assumption proves accurate, that is great. But often the assumption is not correct, and that can lead us into trouble.
Ever think about that water cooler talk? We see people talking at the office water cooler, and our brain automatically starts creating a story about what we assume is being discussed. Our self-talk, or inner dialogue, starts going like a ticker tape….and usually in a negative direction.
If the person looks at us, we assume they are talking about us. We assume that people have a specific motivation for their actions or that an event took place for a specific reason, and then we start to see these possibly incorrect assumptions as the truth.
Remember the 1960’s television show “Lost in Space?” The robot would shout, “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!!” But as we often saw in the show, often there was no danger at all.
Assumptions can be dangerous. Much damage can be done by confusing assumptions with the truth, so always proceed with caution when you make that first, automatic assumption.
It’s easy to think that we know what is going on in someone else’s head. We imagine why a person has taken a certain course of action, but the truth is we really do not know. We guess. Then, based on our imagination, past experiences or wishful thinking, we take a grand leap in a direction based only on our assumptions.
It is important to be aware of our thoughts and assumptions because they could have a negative impact on our business and personal lives unless we pause to think things through.
Taking things a bit further, ask yourself: Can you imagine making an assumption on an important deal at work? Or someone’s health? Or buying a house?
When purchasing a house, you would want to know for certain and not assume that the plumbing, electric, the schools, the heating/air conditioning are all fine without having checked things out in a walkthrough beforehand. You would do the research, have an inspection, make sure you are in the school zone that you desire and not base your home purchase decision on mere assumptions.
Whether you are working on something as big as a business deal or as modest as something personal, always be aware of assumptions you are making. Be careful! Investigate. And think before you leap.
To conclude, here are a few tips regarding assumptions.
- Awareness – Most of us are not aware we are making assumptions. You must first recognize that you are doing so and raise your level of awareness.
- Check Your Information Sources – Investigate. Ask questions.
- Act – Before taking an action, make sure that it is not based on a possibly incorrect assumption. Back your actions up with facts.
May you and your family have a happy and safe Independence Day holiday.
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