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Don't Make Assumptions

Posted on 7 June, 2022 at 3:50


There is a phrase which has been around for years: "Never assume as you make an Ass of U and Me".

 

It's often said in a jokey, cheesy way, but it holds a great deal of truth.

 

I have worked with a lot of clients (as well as knowing an awful lot of people) who have made assumptions. I've even done it myself! 

 

We make assumptions and often build up a whole story to support it. This then becomes our truth, THE truth ... until the day we discover that what we thought was true was complete rubbish. You know the sort of thing I mean (and these are all true examples):

 

 

  • they haven’t answered my email, so they obviously hate me and my work (Fact - they went on holiday and forgot to put their out of office on)
  • every time I invite them to come to see a play with me, they say no, so they obviously don’t want to meet up with me (Fact - they have panic attacks in confined spaces but haven’t been brave enough to tell anyone yet)
  • I applied for the job and didn’t even get an interview so they obviously think I am not good enough (Fact - they had to delay the recruitment process until they had confirmed funding for the job)

 

 

However, by the time we have thought to find out what THE truth actually is, (if we ever do!), the assumption could have built limiting, negative beliefs about ourselves and/or others.

 

For example, when I was at big school, I belonged to the school dance group. Under our first teacher, we did contemporary dance, all minimal music, barefoot and abstract. Under our second teacher, it was all Broadway, bowties and finger clicks. Oh yes, I have done my fair share of jazz hands!

 

My dear old Ma used to turn up at all our public performances. She loved a musical, but was less enthralled  with the "modern" stuff.  But still she came to support me.

 

My Dad stayed at home. I understood that he was a quiet man, not comfortable in crowds.  But still...

 

Many years later, when I was in my 30s, the subject of my dancing came up in passing. For 20 years I had held on to the (for me, proven) belief that my Dad wasn't interested in my dancing. I was too shy to say those words, but did say, "It was a shame you never saw me dance."  

 

My Dad looked puzzled, "I didn't need to - I always knew you would be good."

 

We had both made assumptions. I thought he wasn't interested. He thought I knew he was always proud of me. The only thing we hadn't thought of was actually communicating.  

 

So what assumptions are you holding on to at the moment? About a situation? About someone you know? About yourself?


And what do you need to communicate to check the truth?

 


Categories: Attitude, Productivity