When was the last time one of your assumptions was wrong?
It's so easy to jump to conclusions. We fill-in-the-blanks so many times in so many ways because it's just part of being human. But, when we assume that things are not going in our favor, when maybe there is no reason to, we do ourselves no service.
This is a picture of a recent training room for one of my workshops. It was day two of the two-day workshop and since the hotel staff had in the past forgotten to unlock the door to my room. I arrived, and sure enough the door was locked. Rather than get upset (something I might have experienced in the past) I calmly contacted the hotel staff and politely, yet assertively, asked to have my door unlocked.
"I can do that, sir," said a polite maintenance gentleman, "but you could also just walk in thru that second, open door..."
"Oh. Gee. Thanks!"
That was just a little embarrassing. Just about fifteen feet from the locked door was an open door. My assumption ("I'm locked out!") was completely incorrect.
I know better. You know better. And yet, every once in a while it is so easy to jump to a conclusion that I do. And often, when you jump to a conclusion, you've fallen into a trap.
Test your assumptions. The answer you're looking for might be right there all along.
- The next time you are working on a problem, take a moment to list all of your assumptions about that problem.
- Share your list of assumptions with someone who is impartial about your problem. Get their responses and ask open-ended questions.
- Ask yourself, "What if my assumptions is false? What else could be going on?"
- Let go of any assumptions that are not serving you well.
-- doug smith