When you make choices based on your assumptions, you are letting the past control the future. Assumptions hold you back, because when you already “know” that something won’t work, you probably won’t even consider doing it. Even if you do attempt it, you won’t have a lot of energy for, or be engaged in, what you’re doing, since you don’t really believe it can work. When you hold on to your assumptions, you miss out on many possibilities.
Imagine this scenario: A new salesperson has done five sales presentations, and none of the prospective clients have decided to buy her product. If she makes the assumption that she is not good at doing presentations, then it’s unlikely that she’ll put her all into soliciting them. And, even if she does end up doing one, the catabolic energy she brings with her to the presentation may actually repel her potential sales (and without her even realizing it, she has created more proof that her assumption was correct.)
Here are some typical assumptions:
- If I don’t do it myself, it won’t be done right.
- My kids are lazy and unproductive.
- I’m no good at interviewing.
- No one listens to what I’m saying.
Because assumptions are primarily based on personal experience, they are internalized and emotional, and somewhat difficult to let go of. Delving deep to remove the emotion of the past experience may be necessary before moving
The main question to ask when challenging an assumption is simply “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again?”
Now, when you just “know” that something won’t work based on your past experience, recognize your assumption for what it is, question it, and consciously choose to let it go and to take positive action.