I recently met with someone who came to our meeting with a lot of assumptions about me. It was a difficult meeting, and it reminded me of the dangers of the judgments we make, the judgments I make.
We make assumptions daily, mostly about other people. Our assumptions are like silent storytellers shaping our thoughts, beliefs, and actions daily. They are the shortcuts our minds take to navigate a complex world, helping us process information quickly.
At the same time, these beliefs can cause disagreements that weren’t there to begin with. And more importantly, they can cause us to miss out on a rich experience with another person.
- We assume a person looks a certain way because…
- We assume a person responded to us a certain way because…
- We assume a person took action or didn’t take action because…
In a world that thrives on complexity, assumptions are both allies and adversaries. Striking the right balance, acknowledging their presence, and learning to use them judiciously can help us navigate the intricate web of life more effectively.
What if, instead of assuming, we paused and asked questions like:
- What is the reason you made this choice or took this action?
- What is going on in your day? What happened before our meeting?
- What can I learn from you about what I want to know? What can I learn from you about me?