Have you ever heard that pithy quote? “Never assume. When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me “- Felix to Oscar in the hit TV show, “The Odd Couple!” I saw this episode when I was a teenager and that quote still resonates decades later. Isn’t that odd?
I think the reason it hit me like a spinning hook kick to the head, all of these years later, is that it is not only true, I also keep catching myself making assumptions even though I KNOW it not only causes me and others unnecessary misunderstandings, it costs me valuable time!
So why do you and I continue to make assumptions when we know it usually can cause us trouble?
Is it because we want to feel smug, superior, safe, or in control? Is it because we are desperate for an explanation and don’t have the courage to ask for the truth?
Why do you and I engage in one of the worst habits ever?
A “rational man” who acts in his or her own self interest would certainly want to save time, money and frustration, right? So why?
Famous Quotes on Assumptions:
Assumptions are made and most assumptions are wrong.Albert Einstein
Assumptions are the termites of relationships.Henry Winkler
Don’t believe everything you think.Byron Katie
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.Jonathan Swift
We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality or we begin to challenge them.Pema Chodron
Treat with utmost respect your power of forming opinions, for this power alone guards you against making assumptions that are contrary to nature and judgments that overthrow the rule of reason.Marcus Aurelius
This habit of assumption making is not only pernicious, it is a pervasive blight on the human condition. So why does it persist and what do we want to do about it?
In my opinion, we make assumptions, because we want to explain our emotional experiences quickly to regain control of ourselves and our lives. If we don’t have an explanation, we often are uncomfortable with that level of uncertainty. So, we provide an answer to ourselves that is biased and quick.
Yeah, biased is not really helpful if we care about the quality of our lives and fast doesn’t work either when we have to backtrack and clean up the messes of misunderstandings that we’ve left in our wake.
So what do we do?
How to Beat the Worst Habit Ever
- Cue: When you are triggered to make an assumption run this routine instead:
- Count to Ten. Yep, that advice from mom gives you much needed time to detach from your habit of a biased and quick response.
- Find Out the Facts. However uncomfortable it may be, ask the questions that give you the clarity to know, for certain, what is true.
- Act on the Facts. Practice only factual responses. Creating this dicipline is a game changer and improves the quality of your relationships.
- Reward: To make it so you run this routine (habit) every time you are triggered, you need to reward yourself in a way that will make you want to do it again and again. This reinforces your habit of a factual and less biased response.
That’s it! If you practice this script, over and over, you will be less likely to make an ass out of u and me and more likely to have better results! Give it a try!
If you feel that you may need more clarity to take back control of your assumptions and more help to develop the courage to act with conviction, please click here to Learn more about High Performance Coaching. The next round of coaching is open.
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Thank you so much for reading and until next time,
Make the most out of the time you have!
Coach “I will not Ass U Me”