Assumptions hide our ignorance from us

When we’re aware of our ignorance, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn. Assumptions make our ignorance secret even from ourselves.

Today, pick an assumption to challenge. Give it a hard look. Are you sure? Talk to three friends you think might challenge you. Share your assumption and see what they think. Better, find someone you know assumes exactly the opposite and open a dialogue.

Assumptions challenged become either opinions or beliefs, but they stop being unexamined “truth” guiding our life without proper thought.

Active Understanding

Rather than assuming we understand others, actively seek reasons they speak and act as they do, especially when we notice it; that is, when it annoys or confuses us.

Our instinctive unconscious response is “They are like me, therefore I understand them, therefore what they’re saying or doing is mean or selfish or aggressive.”

Because it’s unconscious, we have to train ourselves to

a) notice we’re responding with assumptions
b) realize when the assumptions aren’t helping
c) imagine other possibilities
d) accept that they are equally, if not more, likely than our assumptions

There is someone in your life who could use your Active Understanding. Next time you see them, pause, turn on your AU senses, and see what you learn.