As true as the saying ‘Assumptions is the mother of all screw-ups’ may be, what makes it a little tricky is that assumptions rarely come dressed up as assumptions; they come dressed up as ‘the truth’ and ‘I know’.
Let me give you an example.
Last week I was on a Skype conference call when I noticed a lot of background noise coming from one of the attendees. I knew it was coming from him (let’s call him ‘Mr Noise’ for now) because his Skype picture lit up every time the noise was coming through; as a regular Skype user, I know that’s how it works.
Note that I wasn’t assuming that the background noise was coming from him, I knew; I had processed the available information and come to the only sensible and logical conclusion I could.
As I was about to send ‘Mr Noise’ a request to mute his microphone to spare the rest of us, someone said ‘There’s a lot of background noise, does someone have a television turned on in the background?’
Although I totally agreed, of course, what threw me was that the one saying it, was ‘Mr Noise’ himself!
As my mind tried to work out what was happening – here we had the very person that was causing the background noise, suggesting that one of use was causing it! – someone else (let’s just call him ‘Mr TV’) said that he did have a TV on. As he moved away from it, the background noise stopped.
So despite what I knew (assumed), here is what had actually happened. Mr TV’s background noise came through Mr Noise’s loudspeakers, was picked up by his microphone and fed back into the call for all to hear. The rest of us were wearing headsets, causing the sound to go directly to our ears so that it was never picked up by our microphones – and therefore never fed back into the conference call.
Since then I’ve checked out my assumptions a number of times and was surprised by how often they turned out to be inaccurate.
For example, a few days ago I saw a man and a woman walking in the residential neighbourhood where I live. I noticed that I immediatlely assumed that they were close to where they wanted to go and did not need a ride.
About a block away I decided to check out my assumption: I stopped, reversed and asked them; it turned out that they had some distance to go and were delighted to be offered a ride.
Here’s another example: I recently helped a friend who was running a workshop and arrived at the venue early. I noticed that it was not set up the way that I would have done it and asked the venue staff to set it up the way that I ‘knew’ that my friend would want it; it was, after all, the best way! Then, remembering that I was writing this article and because I love to practice what I teach, I decided to wait until she came to check out my assumption; as you have probably guessed by now, she preferred the layout of the room exactly the way it was.
The examples may seem small, and they are; in both cases however, the impact was big. If I had believed my assumptions the couple would have to walk all the way, and the room would not have been ideal for my friend.
Regardless of how sensitive you are, the simple truth is that you cannot read other people’s minds; in your interactions with others, notice your assumptions, and then check it out … ASK.
There is nothing wrong with assumptions; we all make them all the time and they are a valuable tool to get through life; the invitation is simply to check out your assumptions from time to time, to challenge them, and to not believe them by default.
It’s a major reason why most people don’t have what they want: they assume that they can’t get it, that their idea won’t work, that they won’t get the help they need.
Think about it.
If you’re up for a challenge, want to really deepen your relationships and kickstart your life:
- check out 5 of your assumptions with your partner or a close friend and see what happens; you may be delightfully surprised!
- write down your 5 most limiting assumptions about why you can’t have what you want and ask yourself ‘Who would I be if I didn’t believe it?’
- if you’re familiar with EFT, tap on
And then you may start wondering, how many of the other assumptions you’ve made about yourself, or about life, that are limiting you, aren’t really true either, and what is that costing you?
Assumptions like people will say ‘no’ or laugh at your ideas, that you don’t have what it takes, that you won’t be able to be successful at doing what you love.
What if they simply aren’t true – but you’ll only find that out once you check them out?
Makes you think, doesn’t it?