However, although this approach seems like a necessary time saver, it can be a serious time-waster – and worse…
Are you making dangerous assumptions?
Here are 7 signs to watch out for:
- You assume someone is good because they’re good-looking. Research shows that this is one of our most frequent assumptions, and has no basis in fact. Skin deep, and all that!
- You assume your first impression of someone is ‘the truth’. We make snap decisions about people when we meet them – they say it takes us about seven seconds to reach our conclusion, and we then find that hard to shake. But we need to recognise that this is only a quick ‘n dirty impression, and says little about that person. After all, would you want someone to sum you up after seven seconds? Be wary of basing anything important on a seven-second decision, and be ready to change your interpretation as you get more information.
- You assume you always communicate clearly. All too often misunderstandings arise because people make the assumption that they’ve been understood. This happens frequently between bosses and employees. The employee may not like to admit they don’t understand what their boss has said, for fear of looking stupid, which can lead to a spiral of problems. Don’t assume — double check.
- You assume everyone thinks like you. People often work on the basis that everyone thinks the same as they do. This means they don’t explain themselves coherently, and are surprised when misunderstandings arise. Don’t assume that your perspective is obvious, correct, or that others will understand it without you explaining it.
- You assume you know someone well, so you stop really listening to them. It’s very easy to become complacent in relationships, and to switch off to what others are telling you. Keep listening!
- You assume someone has the same values as you because you like doing the same things. Just because you both like 60’s soul, sushi, and Sherlock doesn’t mean you have a similar values system. Be wary of ‘falling in love’, even in a business context, for reasons that won’t stand the test of time.
- You assume people’s reactions to you are all about you. They’re not. While they may impact you, they are nevertheless a result of the other person’s perspective on life. Rather than getting caught up in an unproductive unravelling of what has happened, try to maintain objectivity.
We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
An over-reliance on assumptions will lead you into dangerous territory, rife with misunderstanding, stress, doubt and confusion.
Watch out for these 7 signs, so you can recognise when your shorthand is faulty and your judgement flawed.
Stop dangerous assumptions in their tracks…and try to keep snap decisions for simple stuff, like choosing your breakfast!
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