Own Your Assumptions

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This is a bit of a rant, but one I believe indicates a bigger problem with our culture.  It’s a challenge we face every day, in any multitude of ways, in others and ourselves.  What is it that causes so much confusion, frustration, and drama??

Assumptions.  The assumptions we make because of what we prefer, what we’ve learned or experienced, what we’d rather believe versus the objective reality, what we read-into versus take at face value…  all assumptions.

It is perfectly natural to make assumptions, it’s how our brain is geared so that we may survive.  Human beings are expert at using incomplete information, filling them with various assumptions, to predict possible outcomes.  This mechanism is what helps keeps us alive and push forward.  But if the projection created in your mind doesn’t pan out, or isn’t the truth, that’s a mistake we made somewhere in our assumptions.  So what really steams my cheese comes down to this:

“No one is responsible for your mistaken assumptions but You”.

So here are some things we ALL can do to improve this and stop the insanity of expecting the world to revolve around our mistaken ego and projecting our errors on to everyone else.

  1. Any assumption is an attempt to fill in missing information in our attempt to determine the unknown – this is the essence of prediction.
  2. Attempts to create predictions to solve for the unknown are normally matters of perceived risks to safety, i.e. our sense of vulnerability (physical, psycho-emotional, social, monetary, etc.).
  3. Prediction and other forms of future-casting is working with known data, assumptions, and probability. Meaning it might come true, but not necessarily (possible vs probable).
  4. Realize that just because there may be a prior experience, a trend, or belief does not make it necessarily true – but rather a phenomenon which is biasing/coloring ones perspective.
  5. If there was an error in the prediction, one typically experiences an emotional response, such as surprise, threat, offense, shock, etc. Any dissonance between Expectation and Reality will produce this effect.
  6. Pause to realize that it’s not the reality that is wrong, but rather your assumptions. That whatever your expectations were or things you were “reading-into” was in error.
  7. Do not Project your error and its resulting emotions on to others. It’s not their fault you made a mistake in judgement (as long as it wasn’t based on deceit).  Let the ego go and instead examine where your opportunity to learn might be.

Personally, I think the world would be a much nice place if we stopped getting so worked up over misunderstandings and offensiveness if we took more time to consider where our own assumptions may have led us astray.  That, and stop blaming everyone else for our own mistakes.