Why Assumptions Start
It’s easy to make assumptions. All you need is incomplete information about a situation and an unwillingness to ask the questions you need to complete the information. In the absence of complete information, your assumptions run wild and you begin filling in the blanks yourself.
Ninety nine percent of the time, you fill in the blanks with YOUR own interpretation of what you see and/or hear.
Your interpretation evolves from past experiences that relate to the one at hand and from those you’ve heard about from others.
Armed with your information and missing the relevant details, you can’t help connecting dots that aren’t there. In trying to make sense of the situation, you make connections between today and the past-connections that don’t really exist. Impulsively jumping to inaccurate conclusions will often create unnecessary drama.
Years ago, when I was learning to drive, I noticed a nearby driver doing something, and assumed he’d do “X” next. He didn’t. He did “Y” instead, making it likely I was going to hit him and forced my instructor to slam on his emergency brake system. Had I scanned what was around me for more information, I would have clearly seen that “X” wasn’t possible. The driver had to do “Y”.
How Assumptions Develop
If assumptions are incorrect when dealing with rational matters, think about this: what happens when emotions come into play?
All hell breaks loose, A.K.A. Drama!
You see, emotions arrive and include many sensitive buttons-these buttons are the points where you got hurt in the past. While you may feel you have moved on from specific pain points, your memory remembers, and activates it whenever your nervous system recognizes anything that feels painfully familiar.
Once activated, you react as if you’re experiencing that same pain over again. Your old pain feels as real today as it did when you got hurt. Your present situation doesn’t even need to be the same as the past one that hurt you.
When those emotional buttons get pressed, the resulting dot-connecting is rarely ever kind. The assumptions you make in this state have one thing in mind. Lashing out in some way. To repel or hurt someone with unkind and disrespectful words presented as fact.
What Assumptions Do
Behind these harsh words lie the original hurt and an unwillingness to step up and own your part in it.
This is toxic for the people you’re lashing out at, and for you. The negative energy expressed with this can take a toll on mental health. This can be affecting both your mental health, but also theirs. By pressing your pain buttons again and again you start to deepen your hurt and live in a world of constant drama.
Avoid Making Assumptions Like The Plague
- They’re an easy out. The path of least resistance is also the path of least growth.
- They stop you from taking responsibility for your life. Assumptions allow you to hide behind your version of the story instead of owning your part in the true story. You prefer to blame others for your misfortune, rather than taking responsibility and looking in the mirror.
- They keep you frozen in the past. Assumptions rely on outdated and usually irrelevant information to fill in the blanks and connect the dots. Instead of expanding your horizons, you habitually retreat into the past and often recreate the same drama all over again.
- It’s straight up lazy. Instead of taking the time to ask questions and get the information you need, you jump to conclusions.
- Assumptions foster a negative mindset. Most assumptions are derived from old, painful information. This reinforces your innate negativity bias that dates back to prehistoric times and keeps you thinking the world is a fundamentally hostile dramatic place.
- It’s toxic behavior. To protect yourself from more hurt, you use your assumptions to lash out at others. This is bad for them, and you.
- They become a bad habit. The more you make assumptions, the easier it is to continue making them and reliving your drama. You find it easier to relive past hurts to get missing information rather than asking questions.
- They will continue to deepen your pain. The more you pick at a sore, the more painful it gets-forbidding its ability to properly heal.
- Assumptions are almost always wrong. Read that a few times over and over.
Life Beyond Assumptions
In an increasingly impersonal society misconstruing communication, opt to ask questions instead of making assumptions-lots of them.
Even if this means finding out a truth that might be painful to hear.
In any event, if your default behavior triggers and leads you to start assuming blanks in the, nip it in the bud.
Since I started asking questions and stopped making assumptions, I’m much happier in both my personal and professional life. I’ve managed to release much of my past pain by curbing my pain points and not activating them. Furthermore, I’ve grown a lot from the information I’ve gathered through asking questions and searching for additional insight. I enjoy conversations more because I’m not worrying about protecting myself. I’ve deepened my compassion for others by understanding the fears that lay behind their assumptions. I’m more positive. I’m more fun to be around.
If you think you’re generally assumption-free, try this. Make a note of every assumption you make during an average day. And double it to count the ones you don’t notice. You’ll be surprised by the result. Think about this:
How many assumptions have you made in regards to your customers, employees, family, a potential job, etc.? Assumptions can be very dangerous.
They can break down relationships, destroy trust, taint your image, and keep you in a negative mind-frame. This toxic trait is known to pour into other areas as well, affecting your colleagues, partners, employees, and customers.
Anyone is capable of change, however, you must be willing to take action. Understand that-depending on personal and company-wide level of severity-it will take time and require experienced guidance. Because I’ve stood in your exact shoes, you can trust that myself and team-MCDA CCG, INC.- can help you. Get in touch with us at our office-headquartered in Placentia, Orange County, California, today!