Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekly Focus - Assumptions (1)

If there is one thing we humans are very skilled in, it is in making assumptions. What are assumptions? Assumptions occur whenever we make up information without actually having data. Assumptions are very powerful and useful! They help us to fill in the gaps when information is not available. They are a part of everyday life.

For example, I assume that I'll wake up in the morning when I go to bed at night. I assume that I'll receive a paycheck at the end of the week or end of the month. I assume that the bridge I'm driving over isn't going to fall down.

However, there are cases where assumptions can be less useful. These cases typically have to do with assumptions about other people, their actions, their motives and their intentions. In these cases, assumptions can lead us down paths that we may not really want to pursue.

For example, if I'm meeting someone for dinner and they don't show up, I might assume that they had an accident, or that they decided they didn't want to see me, or they forgot, or something terrible happened to them, or... basically, I can make up pretty much anything. The tricky part is that, for most of us, our assumptions can quickly become our reality. Once the assumption is made, it tends to stick. Once stuck, it becomes a filter through which we begin to view all future data.

So, this week is a celebration of assumption! We're going to look at the assumptions we make on a daily basis. We're going to explore the impact of those assumptions on our lives, our activities and our relationships. We're going to decide which assumptions we want to keep, and which assumptions we want to drop. Welcome to assumption week.

For the first day of assumption week, I'd like to ask the following questions.

First, what is the most recent assumption that you made about someone that was right on? How did that assumption affect your relationship?

Second, what was the most recent assumption you made about someone that was completely off? How did that assumption affect your relationship?

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