WOW Word-Of-the-Week #325: Assumption

November 15, 2010 by  

Assumption – something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof.

Do you ever question what you are told? Do you repeat things you’ve heard without verifying they are true? Can you sense when someone is telling you “facts” that are really their assumptions?

Once again, this week’s S T E V E ‘ S….3 – M I N U T E…. C O A C H I N G is very timely and profound.
He writes, “More problems are caused by assumptions than perhaps any other single source. Yet, many people make most of their decisions based on assumptions rather than checking out what’s real. There are several reasons for this.”

“First, it’s easy. You’re ready for a decision right now, no efforting required.

Second, it lets you feel really smart, or at least appear to be. Sometimes we feel the need to be the ‘smart one’ in the room.

Third, by assuming, you don’t have to look at what’s real, which may be what you don’t want to see.

Fourth, well, the list of reasons to assume is endless. The question is, ‘What is a better strategy?’

Try asking questions instead of telling what you assume. Try listening instead of talking. Try waiting for clarity instead of having a shoot-from-the-hip ‘answer.’

Before you repeat something you read on the Internet or had a friend tell you came from the neighbor of their cousin’s sister’s husband, do a little research. Check out the facts. Apply a little logic. Ask “does this seem reasonable?”

Look at your personal history and see if you’ve made some incorrect assumptions which cost you. There is really no reason to base the success of your life on assumptions. It’s a flawed strategy.

Coaching Point: Do you remember how you feel when you sense that what someone is telling you as fact is really just their assumption? Do you want others to feel that when you speak?”

— Copyright 2010 Steve Straus. All rights reserved. —

I clearly was not of sound mind when I agreed to be the President of my HOA. But in retrospect, I have learned a lot. Assumption and over reaction are two of the biggest time wasters. And I believe that you lose credibility every time you go there. My new favorite line is, “get me the facts.” This week focus on Steve’s Coaching Point.

Reader Responses

“This piece on assumptions was right on. Have you ever read ” The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz? It’s very profound and has a lot to say about not making assumptions.” – Bob

“Yes, I have done this on the internet with articles forwarded to me too many times.  Embarrassing!  I now confirm with snopes or don’t send it.  The old saying is so true, “To assume makes an ass of u and me.”
xoxo, Elaine

“Susan, this was really good, I think my entire adult life, I have assumed so much and just not asked questions that I have missed a lot, don’t know what questions to ask, any tips?” – Brenda

“Well, you always know what happens when you assume. You make an …. out of you and me! Assumption is always the easy way out. If there is anything I have learned during my short time on the planet is that nobody knows anything. That seems to be the case, especially during this Midterm Election season when everyone has some kind of poll out to predict the demise of incuments in office. Unfortunately, there are so many different polls out there that are really all over the map that it is difficult to tell false from true. The news networks play into the assumption game in their reporting of poll results. What happens many times in election cycles is that the reporting of the polling results beats a particular narrative drum: “A tidal wave for the GOP”; “The Dems are in trouble.” By repeating the narrative ad nausem, it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And what is these assumptions are wrong? Who has egg on their face then? So, we really don’t know. And we won’t know until the votes are counted. I also agree that people will repeat what it is they have heard on the radio, websites or from people they know, because it squares with their play on events or things and they don’t want to hear anything that is different. I think that is human nature. It reminds me of a line from Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” “All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” So true. I have made my share of assumptions in my lifetime, but as I grow older and wiser and have a good feel for human nature, I resist the assumption more and more. It is a matter of thinking first and checking things out. At the old City New Bureau in Chicago, the old timers used to tell the newbies, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” Great word, Susan. Thanks. Have a great weekend.” – “Warrior” Joe