10 reasons why you should never assume something

There is a phrase that I live by: “never assume — you’ll make an ass out of U and me..” This is a hard-learned lesson for myself and many others I’m sure.

Inevitably, every time I assume something, I am usually dead wrong. Sometimes I find myself saying “well, I assume that…” followed by my narrowed view of something or someone. Below are my reasons we should never assume.

  1. Assumptions are based on our narrow view of the world or situation or person.
  2. Assumptions aren’t based on fact. See #1.
  3. Assumptions allow us to stay steeped in bias.
  4. Assumptions are usually wrong. Really. How many times have you assumed something about someone and realized you were completely wrong.
  5. Assumptions can be hurtful. For example, assuming someone is late because they don’t care, in reality may have been that they just found out a loved one was sick or even just that they’re having a bad day.
  6. Assumptions have an impact. For example, if you’re telling a co-worker “well, {insert person name here} isn’t doing their work because they are lazy.” Now, you’ve probably changed the perception of the same person in other person’s eyes. You’ve just impacted that other worker’s reputation.
  7. Assumptions often hurt you. When you convince yourself on something that isn’t based on fact, you generally end up hurting yourself, especially when you are assuming something about a friend or family member.
  8. Assumptions are based on your values. When you assume something, you likely are unconsciously assigning your values onto the situation or person.
  9. Assumptions are based on your motivations. When we are motivated to get something done or arrive somewhere early, our judgment can get clouded by our motivations.
  10. Finally, assumptions are just dangerous for all the reasons I listed above. When in doubt, ask. You may not always get an answer you want or even an answer at all, but hold some space for grace.

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