Overcome Assumptions to Free Up Your Future
Assumptions are beliefs that are based on the premise that because something happened in the past, it is automatically going to happen again.
We’ve heard the expression, “when you assume it makes an ass out of u and me (ass-u-me).” And we all chuckle at this bawdy humor and our laughter has a ring of truth. In the last post, we explored limiting beliefs, the first of the “Big 4” energy blocks which prevent us from making conscious choices and reaching our potential. Let’s take a look now at another one of those blocks – the assumptions we make.
When you make choices based on your assumptions, you are letting the past control the future. Assumptions hold you back, because when you already “know” that something won’t work, you probably won’t even consider doing it. Even if you do attempt it, you won’t have a lot of energy for, or be engaged in, what you’re doing; since you don’t really believe it can work. When you hold on to your assumptions, you miss out on many possibilities.
Imagine this scenario: A new salesperson has done five sales presentations, and none of the prospective clients have decided to buy her product. If she’s makes the assumption that she is not good at doing presentations, then it’s unlikely that she’ll put her all into soliciting them. And, even if she does end up doing one, the energy and attitude she brings with her to the presentation may actually repel her potential sales (and without her even realizing it, she has created more proof that her assumption was correct.)
What Are Some Typical Assumptions?
- If I don’t do it myself, it won’t be done right.
- My kids are lazy and unproductive.
- I’m no good at interviewing.
- No one listens to what I’m saying.
One of the best experiences I’ve had overcoming an assumption involved my inability to be a runner. Every memory I have of attempting to take up running to improve my physical fitness involved shin splints, breathing difficulties and eventually giving up. I could never stick with it. I didn’t really believe I could do it; I was too out of shape. I merely kept trying because running is one of the activities you engage in if you want to lose weight and get fit. I don’t think I ever got beyond running a half-mile in one session.
What changed my assumption that because I was too out of shape to start I wasn’t going to be able to become a runner. I saw a 400 pound man run two miles on The Biggest Loser. I was stunned and I could no longer use my current weight and fitness level as an excuse. If he could do it, I could do it. That began my journey to run the Maine Marathon in 2006.
Because assumptions are primarily based on personal experience, they are internalized and emotional, and somewhat difficult to let go of. Delving deep to remove the emotion of the past experience may be necessary before moving forward.
The main question to ask when challenging an assumption is simply “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again?”
This month, when you just “know” that something won’t work based on your past experience, recognize your assumption for what it is, question it, and consciously choose to let it go and to take positive action.
In the next post we’ll look at what might be unknowingly causing many of your problems, the next of the Big 4, your interpretations.