-assumption (noun): a thing that is accepted as true or as certain [to happen], without proof. (The Oxford Dictionary).
We live in a world of assumptions. Many ongoing issues are covered by superficial layers of kindness, courtesies, and even political correctness. These days, it’s common for us to mind our own selfish interests, and avoid interfering with whatever is going on around us. At best we smile, hug, and sometimes chat with our neighbors (friends, co-workers, acquaintances), but we are not really keen on knowing how they are faring. We assume all is well, when in reality some of these people are struggling. And to be fair, we too are, but no one is asking. And when they do ask, it’s often due to formality, rather than a sense of genuinity.
We also live in a world of extremism, especially in our ideologies. So we believe anything that is not BLACK is WHITE, and vice-versa. Too many times, we make biased associations and jump into unfounded conclusions based on that. For instance, the black race is typically associated with poverty, ignorance and crime; and for some, even the enlightened ones, the assumption is that every black man carries that STIGMA around. Because of this, embers of racial discrimination and superiority complex are fanned into flames from time to time.
The problem with assumption is that it usually takes the worse of two opinions. It’s easier to assume that every stranger you meet, is a robber until proven otherwise. And not the other way round. Many times we like to stick with the general knowledge we have about things, places, and people, based on past experiences or stories we’ve heard. This works sometimes, but it’s certainly not the best approach to life. Infact it is a risky one. It’s good to ask questions, and get clear answers too. Like a friend shared, Ignorance is something we all pay for. And it’s on a daily basis. If you are ignorant about sewing for instance, you have to pay a tailor to help you or go to the boutique to buy clothes. Ignorance has many price tags and is not always affordable.
A major reason we favor assumption is that it shields us away from the responsibility of digging deep and knowing the truth about certain things. Sometimes we are afraid of what we’ll find out, that we don’t bother trying. And too often, we sacrifice our consciences/peace of mind on the altar of Assumption. Many relationships have been destroyed and lots of ventures have crashed because of this subtle vice. And we hear/use it alot in our daily conversations:
“I assumed you were going to return earlier today.”
“I had an appointment with my dentist.”
“I assumed you would pick up the groceries for the house.”
“I didn’t have enough cash on me.”
“I assumed you knew about the meeting already.”
“Nobody informed me about it.”
The examples are endless. ASSUMPTIONS can be very costly. Beware of them.
“Sometimes we assume because deep down, we are AFRAID to ask questions.”
I’ve also learnt that it’s risky to assume everyone knows what you think they should know. This is especially true when you’re in a leadership role. Don’t think all the people on your team know what to do. Sometimes you need to spell things out CLEARLY for them, to avoid unnecessary issues. Moreso, a number of people genuinely don’t know that they have annoying traits or habits, sometimes you need to be BLUNT and tell them, the honest ones will thank you in future. Even in spreading the Gospel, don’t assume everyone you know has heard about it already, keep sharing!
This year as much as you can, get your facts straight…assume LESS and ask MORE!