201-880-7213

Examining Assumptions

Removing bias to determine potential action

Assumption – something accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.

Have you ever been stuck in a rut? Have you ever had difficulty handling a case, choosing to take action on something, or having trouble communicating with someone? Odds are you are running ahead in your mind with an assumption. Sure, sometimes, from a scientific standpoint, an assumption can help you explore potential solutions but let’s face it – most of our daily assumptions aren’t for science, are they? Creating awareness of your assumptions can help you find a more profound perspective when handling all elements of life and any barriers that might hinder your success.

Assumptions give us a false sense that we completely understand what is happening. When it comes to interactions with people, assumptions give us the impression that we know why they are behaving a certain way and even make us start taking on certain emotions just because we create a logical course of expected future events. These situations effectively cause us to create a narrative of a story that isn’t truly real. They also cause us to build obstacles and find problems that lead to limiting beliefs.

Coaches of all kinds instill the following rule to help combat negatively impacting assumptive thoughts:

“If something seems frustrating, difficult, or impossible, examine your assumptions.”

Sticking to this idea will help you consistently find new potential in everything you do. From resolving personal qualms with loved ones to improving case handling and achieving new goals, examining assumptions can give you unprecedented strengths.

So what are methods of examining assumptions? Start by following these three tips:

Tip #1: Accept that you are likely assuming information.

It may seem counterintuitive to assume you are assuming, but this tip creates awareness. You’ll need to fully accept that you are predisposed and hardwired to assume things naturally if you want to dive into more robust solutions. Coaches generally use laser-focused questioning to get you to identify these situations and help create positive transformation. In the absence of a Coach, nothing stops you from trying to explore answers on your own.

Tip #2: Accept that you are missing information and determine what it might be.

Every story has at least three sides:

  • your point of view,
  • another person’s point of view,
  • an omniscient third-person point of view.

All three sides see a situation with different conclusions, emotions, and facts. What might seem objective logic to one might not be logically objective to the other. Think about what information you need or could be missing to help give you additional perspective into your situation. The more you think about different points of view, the more you’ll be able to create more robust solutions later.

Tip #3: STEP AWAY

If you are dealing with a problem, barrier, or frustration, you should focus on taking a step back from it altogether. It’s likely causing you some form of emotion that might take precedence over logic. When trying to find professional resolve, it’s unlikely that emotion should be your guiding route, so if you need to, step away from the obstacle to help yourself reset. A fresh mind will tackle assumptions much more effectively than one filled with high-speed emotional thoughts.

These three tips help to create awareness. Once awareness is active, it’s time to focus on determining appropriate actions based on your new mindset. Right before getting there, it’s essential to realize that you might have a pattern of assumptions that create constant limiting beliefs in your life. Assumptive practices can happen subconsciously, just as much as they can consciously, so try to understand yourself better by understanding what you usually think.

Let’s try an exercise to help you examine your assumptions using the rules above.

Think about a situation with someone that frustrates you. It might be a case you are handling, a manager’s conversation with you, a recent argument with a loved one, or even your conviction that you cannot do something difficult. Once you have the situation in your mind, answer these questions in order:

  1. What do you want out of the situation? Clearly state this in one sentence.
  2. If applicable, what could be the perspective of the other party(ies) in this situation?
  3. What emotions has this situation created for you?
  4. What are you holding back because of those emotions?
  5. What assumptions are you making because of your perspective and feelings?

If you completed the exercise with conviction, you likely noted you released some of the thoughts holding you back. You might have even started seeing additional options to find resolve. Allowing yourself to pause and reflect on those five questions helps to release your brain from assumptions that generally create barriers.

Assumptions force us to deviate from reality and often create unnecessary difficulties for ourselves. From assuming we know what opposing council will use as a strategy to assuming we know how our days will go or how someone will respond to e-mails, we run into a constant cycle of conclusions that aren’t objective or genuinely reasonable.

The more you can catch and eliminate most assumptions, the stronger your logical side becomes and the more successful you will be with work, life, and relationships. Consider that even waking up and seeing gloomy weather or having a high-speed text conversation with someone could trigger your mind to conclude that the day will be more strenuous. That assumption can catalyze your next eight to twelve hours – don’t let it. Instead, follow the tips listed above to build awareness and create a more solution-driven day ahead!

Recent Coach's Corner Articles

Get articles delivered to your inbox, once a month.

Subscribe Today!