You have heard the phrase that assume makes an ass out of you and me. And in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, one of the four agreements is Don’t make assumptions (the other three are Be impeccable with your word, Always do your best and Don’t take things personally).
But there are situations where you have to make assumptions. Let’s say you are working on a new project, and you have to gather information to understand the situation. You talk to the stakeholders, you observe how things are done, and you use other types of data collection techniques such as surfing the internet or online databases. At some point you have to stop collecting information and start analyzing what you have found. You stop collecting information because it doesn’t make sense cost-wise, or you simply cannot find more information on the topic.
The point is that you will never have all the information you need to make decisions in life, so you have to make assumptions based on your experience – what you already know. But you have to make it clear what assumptions you have made. So a simple rule to follow is to state:
- What the facts are
- What you don’t know
- What assumptions you’ve made to fill in the information gaps, and why you’ve made them
So there are situations when you have to make assumptions, but making assumptions about people because you do not like them, or whatever reason, or making assumptions about situations and circumstances, shouldn’t be done lightly. Follow the three steps above.
What do you have to add to the conversation? Let’s keep the conversation flowing, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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