1. ASK QUESTIONS> It’s easy to jump to conclusions. It’s human to want to believe the worst. Unfortunately, the media are prone to fanning the drama flame since flashy headlines sell papers. What’s the saying…’If it bleeds, it leads.’ But, before you jump the gun on anything you might read or hear, remember one simple word: Clarify. By asking questions and filling in the loads of blanks in a broad assumption you can weed out fact from fiction. Assume that everything is not as bad as it seems.
2. LISTEN> Are you really listening to the person talking? Are you misinterpreting what they are saying? Sometimes we only see what we want see to and hear what we want to hear. Everyone just wants to be heard. Take a minute to truly be present. Then take a few deep breaths, make eye contact and try to hear what is in that person’s heart–your gut will usually tell you if it’s authentic.
3. GIVE THEM A BREAK> There’s nothing worse than having your integrity questioned. If you have ever been in that position–and all of us probably have at one time or another–it’s the worst feeling in the world! It has ruined many a great friendship. Don’t jump to conclusions but wait for all of the evidence to roll in. Even then, learn to forgive and move on.
4. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK> I think one reason we make assumptions is because we’re comfortable with the past. For example: when we start moving toward a new business, relationship, endeavor, etc., there is an inclination to grab onto something or someone that feels familiar; however negative it might be we are still inclined to go there. It’s sort of like moving two steps forward, one step back. We just need to recognize it for what it is–Resistance–and keep moving forward.
5. TAKE ACTION> In the fourth chapter, ‘Don’t Make Assumptions’ from his book The Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz states ‘Taking the action over and over again strengthens your will, nurtures the seed, and establishes a solid foundation for the new habit to grow. After many repetitions these new agreements will become second nature, and you will see how the magic of your word transforms you from a black magician into a white magician.’
Begin a new habit of not making assumptions.
And remember, change is hard! While you’re developing your new habit, be patient~with others as well as yourself.