Have you ever thought that you knew what someone meant by what they said only to find out that you really did not understand what they meant at all? I am assuming the answer would be yes. When we assume something about anything we are taking a big chance or risk that we may be incorrect because we really do not know what the true meaning is unless we have found out by inquiring directly from the source. Assuming things is part of our daily lives, we do it all of the time, and guess what…we think we know the correct answer because we have assumed that whoever, whatever, whenever, is thinking just like us. Now what is the chance of that? If we based our assumptions on actual data that would be one thing, but more often we base it on what we think to be correct and do not take it any further to actually find out if it is correct. How can we correct this problem of assuming? The best way is to inquire more and assume less. Don’t assume things to be true just because someone told you they were, do some investigating by asking questions that will give you information to really base your decision on. For instance in the office when your boss asks you to do something that you have never really done before, don’t just try to do it, ask questions to make sure that you really understand what needs to be done and exactly how do they expect it to be done. For example your boss wants you to set up a new filing system, how would you know what they really where thinking unless you asked, what exactly do you want this to look like and how should I handle getting it done. By asking these types of questions you will be able to be given an exact definition of what the expectation is and there is no assuming involved, now you are free to work without the stress of wondering if you are doing the right thing, you have asked and been given directions…excellent! Now move ahead and assume no more.
“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grown out of these assumptions.” ~ Stephen R. Covey