You’re Never Assuming. Or Are You? – Take the Quiz and See by Yourself

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To assume as in to suppose.

You know the results of assuming are never good, so you try to avoid assuming.

But are you always?

Sometimes we tell ourselves stories, without even realising their impact on our lives. And without realising that they are just stories.

Once we realize that our story is just that, a story, it gives us the opportunity to change it, and that’s empowering. Although we cannot control everything that happens in our lives, focusing on the things that we can impact changes our story tremendously. Taking ownership of our story is the starting point.

assumptions leadership skills . the busy lifestyle

What are your stories? Are they getting in your way?

 

Take the quiz  below, and find out if the stories you tell yourself are getting in your way.

If you were offered an opportunity to take on a new job in a sector that you are not very familiar with, but were really interested in, what would be your reaction?

 

 

We often assume that we cannot handle a situation because we don’t have the knowledge, and we prefer to decline an offer rather than risk exposing our “ignorance”. Our fear of looking like a fraud is based on the assumptions that people will judge us at the first sign of weakness. Whether they will or will not judge us is actually irrelevant because we already judge ourselves so harshly that deep down, we truly believe we are frauds.

Rather than value ourselves for what we can do with our brain, we value what it contains, so knowledge becomes the measurement of competence rather than the ability to ask insightful questions and help solve complex situations.

There is a very valuable element to “not knowing”, because it provokes questions that help bring hidden angles to light. Something we assume being a weakness can be a very valuable asset, but we tend not to see it that way… and we’re pretty sure no one else will, either.



You walk by the cafeteria at 10 am and see a colleague there with someone, chatting away and laughing. At 10:45 you walk by their office and notice that it is empty. What will most likely go through your mind?

 

 

Our brain doesn’t like “not knowing”. This is why it is really difficult not to speculate about people or situations when we are faced with incomplete information. Assuming something (no matter whether it’s good or bad) is a natural reaction of our subconscious mind. It takes a very conscious effort not to fill in the blanks, so most of the time we are not even aware of what we’re doing.
 

Making an assumption isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem is when these are limiting assumptions, reducing our perspective to a one-sided opinion. In this case, maybe our colleague does spend a lot of time laughing and talking to people, but this doesn’t mean that he is not being efficient at work. Maybe he is creating stronger bonds with people so that working together is easier. Maybe he is having entertaining conversations that are nonetheless work related. Maybe he just has a different way of getting things done than you do. Either way, there is always another side to the story, and you may be surprised by the positive impact which discovering that hidden perspective could have on you.


 

There is one thing in particular that you have been struggling with for quite some time. Whether it be a few kilos too many, the desire to stop smoking or just getting your desk in order, you have made several attempts at provoking change but have been unsuccessful so far. What is your current state of mind?

 

 

When it comes to provoking change for ourselves, every attempt that leads to failure tends to bring us down. Our mind-set and beliefs are based on experience, so the more often we fall and crash, the less we will believe that we can do otherwise. 

Again, these are beliefs, they are not facts, and they are limiting us from moving forward. Sure, we read about failure being the “stepping stones” to success in business, but when it comes to our own little selves, it sure doesn’t feel like it. Failure feels bad, and the worse we feel, the less we are likely to try again.

Provoking change is tough if we believe it’s tough. It’s also tough if we try to provoke change for the wrong reasons. But most of all, change is difficult if we assume that our previous failures define us for who we are, rather than give us substance to learn and do better the next time.


 

Imagine the company you work for has a bad company culture. People don’t communicate well, they complain a lot and no one really makes an effort to improve the situation. What will your thoughts on the matter most likely be?

 

 

One of the biggest limiting assumptions we have, is that we think we cannot influence the world around us. We tend to feel helpless when it comes to changing our environment, so we don’t even try. Maybe it’s because we have been told since we were very young that “you can’t change people” or “that’s just how the world works”, but we truly believe that our impact is limited to what we can do for ourselves.



These beliefs are not facts, they are limiting assumptions. We all have an impact on the world around us, whether it is by provoking change or doing nothing.  When it comes to company culture, for example, no one seems to think that they can have an impact, whereas everyone actually can. Culture is a dynamic thing, it is not something defined or imposed by a higher power, it is something created and adapted by the people. If you consider how art and music, technological devices and certain household products have totally changed our culture, sometimes over a very short period of time, it becomes clear that cultural change can happen at any level and by anyone’s initiation.


 

You come home tired after a busy day, and your brother calls you on the phone to complain about his difficult relationship with your father. He goes on and on, and you are tired of hearing the same complaints over and over again. What will your reaction be?

 

 

When people come to us with complaints, we tend to think that they expect something of us. After all, they come with a problem, so they must want us to help them fix it. So, at least in the beginning, we give them advice and try to help them out. When things go on, endlessly, and our advice isn’t taken into account, we come to the conclusion that they don’t really want our advice and just want to talk. So then we have the option to just listen, or turn them away.

What we rarely do, is to consider that there might be another way to handle the situation. We assume that we know all the options: to either empathize, advise, challenge, or walk away… and because we can’t think of anything else to do, we assume we need to choose one of those ways.



When we don’t like any of the options in front of us, chances are that there are others that we can’t see. If the answers to your question “what should I do” aren’t satisfying, then maybe there is a better question to be asked, like “what other options do I have” or “where could I find a better approach to dealing with this situation?”

Where should we send the results?



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unsplash-logoPhoto Credit: Nigel Tadyanehondo

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