Assumptions can be very useful. They save you the time and trouble of having to figure out the same thing over and over again. When you first moved into your neighborhood, you probably had to figure out what route to drive from your house to the nearest major road. That may have taken some time and effort. However, once you learned how to do it, you no longer had to think about it. You simply assumed that the roads would always be there and that the route you knew was the best way to get out to a major road. And that assumption has served you well, freeing up time for you to think about other matters. But imagine what would happen if one of the roads on your route were to suddenly become inaccessible. Or, what if a new road were to be constructed that would give you a quicker, more direct route out of the neighborhood?
Though assumptions can be extremely helpful, they can also become outdated, irrelevant and even counterproductive. One way to become more aware of your assumptions is to suddenly be placed in completely new surroundings, with a whole new set of circumstances. Think of times when you’ve moved to a new town or started a new job. Such times make you realize all the assumptions you’ve previously just taken for granted.
Another good way to examine your assumptions is to look at everything you do on a daily basis and ask yourself why you’re doing it. It could very well be that much of your energy is devoted to servicing assumptions that are no longer valid. More importantly, you now have the opportunity to replace tired, inaccurate assumptions with new, powerful realities. Doing something one particular way simply because you’ve always done it that way is not a strategy for success. There may in fact be a much more effective way.
Beyond the way you do things, assumptions also inhabit many other areas of your life. You probably have assumptions about what other people think of you, about money and financial matters, health issues, relationships, technology, business, social matters and a whole lot of other things. Assumptions such as these can accumulate over the years, and there’s always a good chance that many of your assumptions are due for an overhaul.
Make a point to become aware of the assumptions you make. Get away from old, outdated assumptions. Get away from assumptions that you borrowed or inherited from others. Look at the world and at your life with a fresh set of eyes and see all the great possibilities.