Masterful Mindsets ~ Don’t Make Assumptions
“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
Do you find that your life is filled with drama? Does it often stem from an assumption you’ve made about someone – the way they think or behave? Do you ever assume you know what they mean or what to expect without getting all the details? Do you assume that people will or should always know what you want and need without expressing it?
I see Don Miguel Ruiz’s third agreement from his book, The Four Agreements, as being two-fold:
- You may assume you know something – which can cause you to have to face your own foolishness.
- You can assume someone else knows something – which can lead to your own disappointment.
Either way, you are inviting unnecessary fear and drama into your life by assuming.
Unless of course you’re a mind reader… although I doubt you are, then making assumptions that you know what someone is thinking, is highly likely to add a lot of unnecessary pain into your life. Because how you think, believe, feel and act are all based on your own life experiences. Likewise, how someone else thinks, believes, feels and acts are all based on theirs and how they’ve processed them. You cannot ever “know” what that is for them because everyone is different.
There’s a saying that goes something like this, “Don’t assume! it makes an ass out of u and me.” (Ass-u-me) I remember the first time I told someone this. It was a high school student in my earlier school counselor days. The student was in full victim mode and looking for justification of something that they weren’t wanting to take any responsibility for. They had assumed that someone else would take care of something for them and were left completely disappointed because it hadn’t happened and they’d missed out on something big. You could cut the drama with a knife! But when I made the statement, it was as if I popped their balloon. Their ego balloon that is. They were hurt but they got it. Assuming does you no good. More often than not, it sets you up for foolish misunderstandings and unnecessary drama.
Likewise, assuming others should “just know” is a sure set up for disappointment. (Unless of course you do know a mind reader.) If you really want something in your life, clear communication to express that request is by far the best way to get what you want. It doesn’t mean everyone will always say yes to your requests. It means they will know what it is you are requesting. And that gives you the best odds of getting your needs met. If you don’t clearly express your wants and needs, you can blame yourself – first and foremost – for not getting it. More times than not, assuming someone will just know what you want, need, mean or think is a sure way to set yourself up for disappointment. Miscommunication is the number one reason for unnecessary drama.
I’ve worked with several clients on communication skills. Not everyone knows how to communicate their needs. Not everyone is brave enough to communicate their needs and not everyone believes they deserve to have their needs met. So, I’m here to tell you, you can ask for what you want. You do hold the right to make requests. But assuming someone will just know what you want and need is a recipe for disappointment.
My challenge to you is to think before you make an assumption. Be aware! Make a conscious effort to take an objective view. Ask yourself if you really know… Have you asked questions? Have you gotten clarification? If not, do it! Don’t assume you know. On the other hand, ask yourself if the other person really knows… Have you asked for want you want and need? Have you made your requests clear?
If you can do these simple things before you make assumptions, you’ll not only avoid “making an ass out of u and me” but you’ll avoid a lot of misunderstandings, sadness and drama in your life.
***I want to hear from you… Share your thoughts about this week’s topic below!