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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

Do You Have a Habit of Making Problematic Assumptions?

Everyone makes assumptions! It can be about anyone and anything. You believe them to be true, and then act based on those assumptions spreading emotional poison. Your mind naturally creates chaos.

This results in misinterpretations and misunderstandings when making assumptions. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of  The Four Agreements, says, “All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.” Your fear of further rejection and regret keeps you from asking questions to get clarification to defend your position with facts or observable evidence. Your position is based on your imagination, past experiences, or a dream. Take a moment to re ect honestly on this truth and its impact on your life.

When making assumptions, the way you see something is the way it is; the way you feel about someone is the way they are; or the way you remember an event is the way it was. Disagreement leads to blame. But once the truth comes to you, you realize it was not what you thought it to be. Below are examples of problematic assumptions. Familiar?

-You do not get the promotion at work - you are not

good at your job.

-You assume most people are bad at heart - do not trust

anyone you meet.

-Your partner is not very talkative - they are angry with


-You assume big cities are dangerous - decline an excellent

job offer in a city.

-Your mother never understood you - she does not love


-A friend with two tickets asks someone else - the

friendship is faltering.

-We have always done things this way - it worked  ne.

-Do not make suggestions - they will never listen.

-They do not understand what I do - they are looking

out for themselves.

-They do not mean it - nothing ever changes.

-Do not admit to mistakes or ask questions – it counts

against you.

-You must watch out for yourself - no one else will.

-I have not heard any issues - if there were concerns,

people would raise them.

Your assumptions are wrong because they are based on your emotions, beliefs, expectations, and wishes.  e above examples limit what you accomplish and hinder how well you work with others. Recognize when you make assumptions, be intentional and challenge them, and act by asking simple questions “How do I know this?” “What might be going on with them?” “How might they be seeing things di erently?” and

“What else could be true?” Your honest answer must come from observed evidence or obtained facts.

According to Don Ruiz, your mind has the need to justify, explain, and understand everything to feel safe. So many questions must be answered that your rational mind cannot explain. What is important is not the correct answer but an answer which makes you feel safe.  Therefore, you make assumptions about yourself and others. Most times, you make these assumptions fast and unconsciously because you lack the courage to ask questions. You made an agreement that it is not safe to ask questions or people should know what you want and how you feel if they love you. You believe you are right, and you defend it with a willingness to destroy relationships.

You assume others see what you see, feel what you feel, think how you think, judge how you judge, or abuse how you abuse. You cannot be yourself around others believing you would be judged or blamed. Self-rejection and a fear of regret stops you in your tracks and stops you from asking critical questions to gather more facts to make informed decisions.

If you are a leader, your tendency may be to take the opinion of others currently on board to understand your team. You want to know who is dependable and who is not. However, taking these opinions and making assumptions can ensure lost credibility due to incorrect assumptions. When you assume things about yourself, other people, or circumstances, it causes division, strained relationships, discontent, complacency, lack of motivation, team breakdown, decreased productivity, and retention concerns. Challenge your assumptions by getting three points of view when lacking information and understanding other people’s motives. As a leader you must take a step back. Your goal is to make sound, coherent decisions, and in a reasonable amount of


“Do not make assumptions. Have the courage to ask questions and express what you really want.

Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.

With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” Don Miguel Ruiz

Article Written By Gladys Agwai:

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