Are you assuming too often?

Earlier this month my son started back to school, but before he did he was so excited to get his schedule. When he finally got it I overheard him comparing his schedule with his friends to see classes they would share together. He recognized a particular teacher and mentioned how other kids at school didn’t really like him. There was already an opinion created in my son’s mind, an assumption made in regards to "Mr. Teacher" based on what he had "heard".

As a previous high school teacher I can totally understand how this happens, and as a student who will always love to learn, I have seen the results of assumptions made regarding an instructor before even giving him or her a fair chance.

This doesn’t just happen at school, it happens all around us. And thanks to social media..yelp, reviews, and old fashioned 'word of mouth', taking someone else's word, or 'assuming' can be so powerful that it can affect our buying decisions, planning vacations, making friends, etc.

One of the things that I often say to a group of students is “assume nothing and clarify everything”.

What really happens when we go into a situation with assumptions?

  1. We arrive into a situation with a preconceived notion, and whether it is right or wrong we end up defending it because we feel the need to be right.

  2. We don’t allow for another possible outcome.

  3. In many ways, we have already determined our reaction-thanks to the many dialogues played out in our mind.

Why do we do this?

  1. Sometimes it is easier to assume rather than to ask clarifying questions. It’s an easier way out.

  2. We may not know how and what to ask.

  3. Sometimes we place more trust in the person that the “intel” came from ….so it has to be true, right? And perhaps, it is true for them and they have also shared it from their perspective, right? How many of us know that 2 siblings growing up in the same family could have a totally different perspective on the parenting at home?

What can we do instead?

  1. Come into the situation without judgment and wait to see how things unfold.

  2. Ask clarifying QUESTIONS! Don’t be afraid that you will look “stupid” or “less than”.  Clarity can help bring focus and speed to the task at hand!

  3. Allow your mind to think of the alternative!

With that said, I encouraged my son to walk into the class with an open mind and just give the teacher a chance.  He took my advice –and that’s not the norm when our kids get into high school!  To my surprise he came back that day and said, “Actually, he’s not that bad, after all!”

Our assumptions often dictate our actions and reactions. So, let’s take a look at that assumption, because it can lead you down a path that does not support your growth and maturity. Let’s make a mental stop right before giving that assumption full reign in your mind, by considering the alternative…which in many cases could be the real truth.

I want to encourage you to find out today if you are Thriving or Surviving, by taking my free Thrive 365 Quiz. You can download it immediately by simply entering your name and email address in the space provided at the top right corner of this page. When you sign up you will receive an email asking you to confirm that you signed up. After you take that step I will also share with you a daily challenge for the next 5 days to encourage you to begin thriving in each moment of your life. I can't wait for you to receive my free gifts!

To your moment,
Coach Sheeba