Do you find yourself constantly jumping to the wrong conclusion? If so, it may be time to discover the risks associated with making assumptions. The trouble with assumptions is that we don’t always necessarily register them as assumptions, but we will still allow our emotions to dictate our responses to situations and conversations.
The risk of making assumptions becomes even more detrimental to your life and relationships if you are in a negative mindset. For example, if someone forgets your birthday, does that mean that they don’t care about you and there is no value in the friendship? Not necessarily, we know that our own lives are full of stresses, trials and tribulations, however, we can quickly forget this when it comes to other people.
Assumptions allow us to process things as true without any proof to back it up. Assumptions can also make us believe that the outcomes of events are certain and fixed, take for example sitting an exam. If we are in a negative mindset, we can assume that we’ll fail before we even sit down and put pen to paper. This can have a detrimental impact on our mental health; therefore, it is essential that we always keep an open mind and consider the possibility of multiple outcomes.
We will cover 5 different ways in which people make incorrect judgements in their lives and how to avoid doing so in the future.
- Do You Let Fiction Dictate Your Relationships?
It can be tricky to understand a person’s motives 100% of the time. If you find yourself running with incorrect judgements and assumptions instead of asking for clarity in the situation, you may notice that you struggle to see eye to eye with people. For example, if a friend, relative, or partner cancels on plans, it’s easy to make the assumption that they don’t want to spend time with us. Yet, before responding to the cancellation with judgement, seek clarity. Ask them if they are okay. If someone seems distant, don’t come up with the reasons why they are so distant in your own mind, ask them, and show that you care.
- Do You Limit Possibilities?
On any given day any number of random events may occur, we never know what will happen, and that can be one of the most exciting parts of being alive. Yet, sometimes we can find ourselves with a limited number of mindset assumptions where we don’t even consider that there are other possibilities which we haven’t even considered. By approaching each day, situation, and event with such a restricted set of assumptions, we will limit the possible outcomes. For example, we might hold ourselves back on asking an old friend to go out to dinner as we’ve already convinced ourselves that they’ve said no. But what if they say they’re busy and out of town and invite you along for the trip? Anything can happen, you just need to make yourself available to the possibility.
- Do You Struggle Pulling Yourself Out of Negative Thinking Patterns?
One negative thought can quickly transcend into a downward spiral of negativity and futility. When this happens, you need to accept that the world isn’t transpiring against you, it doesn’t hate you, and it isn’t out to get you. It may be hard to see past the mental fog which is hiding the reasons why you found happiness in the first place. The best way to bring yourself out of a negative spiral is to remind yourself of the reasons why you are grateful and thankful. Write a list of 10 different things which you’re grateful of each night before you go to bed, read them aloud in the morning when you wake up, and you will soon find that you have plenty more things to be grateful for. This will allow you to remove biases from situations and to help you see more positivity in the world.
- Are You Really in Control of Your Decisions?
This one can be a tricky one and incredibly hard to spot. We can subconsciously limit our self-awareness by not taking the time to be mindful in the decisions which we make. Professor Steve Peters who wrote ‘the Chimp Paradox’ states that we have three brains, the chimp, the human, and the computer. The chimp handles our emotions, and the human deals with facts, the chimp can be incredibly quick to react in stressful situations. If you don’t want your impulsive chimp to make decisions for you, it is recommended that you take the time and discover all of the facts before making a decision. This means that you will need to take stock of your emotions, beliefs, and the facts before you can make a rational decision in any given circumstance.
- Do Assumptions Make You Feel Safe?
Uncertainty can be incredibly daunting. This is why it feels like a safer option to come up with assumptions on outcomes. No one likes to wait around for important news, however, allowing our fears to convince us of negative outcomes or allowing our egos to convince us of positive ones can be detrimental to how we navigate in the world. There’s the old proverbial saying that only two things are certain in life, one, that we will be born, two that we will die. There is an infinite amount of possibility to explore in between.
Making assumptions can indicate that we are afraid of adversity in certain situations, for example, someone who experiences issues around rejection may hold themselves back from applying for a promotion, entering a competition, or asking someone out on a date. But life is never handed to us freely, we have to prove that we aren’t afraid to make ourselves happy and grasp for the opportunities which present themselves to us, and those which we have to go out in search for.
Ultimately, our happiness is our own responsibility, and we’ll need to put ourselves in situations where we won’t always know the outcome, but it is the only way to ensure that we’re not being limited by our incorrect negative judgements.