It’s annoying when people say, “If you make assumptions, you make an ass out of you and me,” isn’t it?
Duh dude. I’ve heard that before. But I’m learning that the analogy is a lot more potent than we often want to recognize. Which leads to a different kind of realization if you think about it.
[By the way, there’s a lot of mention of ass in this blog post. Fair warning]
Where do assumptions eat their aggrandized Wheaties for breakfast? Where do they spend three hours getting dressed to go out at night, and half of that time just in figuring out which shoes to wear with their grossly overpriced outfit? Only a Kardashian would be so outrageous!
See what I did there? Made an assumption while talking about assumptions. Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t assume you wouldn’t get it…..
Assumptions live in our heads
And they do a great job of messing things up in our lives. Because we think we know what someone else thinks, or believes, or feels or wants or…….
So we make this egregious judgement call about them with the belief that we’re right. And when we find out we’re not, we feel like a giant, pimply, naked ass that everyone is gawking at, pointing and jeering.
Yeah, that kind of ass. What did you think I was referring to?
Here’s the truth. It’s human nature to make assumptions about other people based on their words, actions, attitudes and behaviors. It’s a rough guess about what someone’s intentions might be. And sometimes these assumptions can be fairly accurate.
But what about when they’re not? What about when they’re so far away from reality it’s like William Hung’s aspirations for stardom as a lead vocalist. I don’t mean to insult William, but I sing terribly at karaoke too. I sound like Axl Rose being assaulted by rabid cats in the back seat of a Buick Lebaron that desperately needs new belts. But I’m not going to try and start a singing career with that.
Don’t make an ass of yourself by thinking that your problem with someone else is outside of yourself. It’s not. It’s in your head.
Assumptions lead to judgements. Which lead to potentially going off the rails on a crazy train to destruction.
Which means that when you make an assumption about someone else, you’re throwing up a gigantic block to your own progress and growth. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your personal relationships or business connections. You’re getting in your own way. The problem isn’t just in the other person, even if their actions or behaviors are more dysfunctional than a Jerry Springer highlight reel.
Until you talk with someone and see what is really going on, you don’t have all the facts to base your opinion on.
Ah, there’s the rub isn’t it? Facts.
That elusive thing we want to avoid because it might undermine our belief system that says Sheila was purposefully trying to undermine your project so that you wouldn’t get the raise and promotion you deserve. You know she’s been gunning for your position for a long time. Her latest episode in going behind your back to try and make you look bad is a deliberate attempt to take away from all the hard work you’ve been doing.
Or fill in the story line with the last assumption you made about someone in your office, workspace, circle of friends, etc.
Here’s another ass-related quote that is very fitting here. “Opinions are like assholes: everyone’s got one and none of them smell good.”
Opinions aren’t facts
They’re an individual’s beliefs, thoughts, ideas, biases, judgements, and (often) assumptions. Sometimes there are hints of truth inside an opinion. But often it’s just what someone thinks.
Which means it’s something inside their head. That’s not necessarily true either. Like an assumption.
Here’s the reason why you need to take a close look at what’s inside your head: what you repeatedly think turns into your beliefs. You can believe things that are not true. You can believe things about yourself and others that have no basis in fact, truth, data, or accuracy.
Which can lead to you making decisions, statements, taking actions, and fostering attitudes that can really mess up your life. Like judgements against yourself and others.
If you lack peace and clarity in your life, check what beliefs are running wild like a river rapid in your mind.
If you’re having a hard time connecting with people in your work, or trying to make new relationships in your industry, check the assumptions you’re making about yourself. And the assumptions you’re making about why it’s hard to connect with others.
This has been a struggle for me in my life, something I’m becoming more and more aware of and taking the necessary actions to change.
I can trace it all back to negative self-talk
Two very prime experiences that led to me not believing in myself or feeling like I am worthy have put me in a lockbox and hidden under the bed so no one would find me. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to get out, the beliefs of unworthiness and anti-D talk squelched any release.
One was something a complete stranger said to me when I was 12 years old riding my bike outside. A pretty girl passed me in a truck and yelled, “You’re the ugliest kid I’ve ever seen!” Which I took to be true, because why else would someone I don’t know say that unless it was gospel. I carried that negative belief with me for over 2 decades.
Another is something an old boss said to me in a meeting. “No one is going to care what it is that we do, or the difference we make in our community. These people don’t value anything and don’t buy anything either. We’re just wasting our time.”
Which I didn’t believe inherently in the moment. But that was a piece of the negative work environment I lived in for over a decade. Being around that constant negativity impacted how I saw myself, my work, my contributions, and whether or not I’d be successful at anything.
It was like spending all day at a bingo hall with 65 chain-smokers, binging 8 packs each of Marlboro Lights, and thinking I wouldn’t get lung cancer. If you spend large amounts of time in negative environments, you’re going to be negatively impacted by it all. Negative beliefs and attitudes create negative atmospheres that hinder growth and success everyone in them.
Which led me to make assumptions about other people
Assumptions that negatively impacted my professional and personal life like, “No one wants what I have to offer.”
“They’re not going to buy from me. Why would anyone do that.”
“She’s gorgeous, and can get any guy she wants. She’s not going to want to talk to me. I don’t have anything to offer…”
Any of that sound familiar? Is it something you’ve told yourself before and believed it was true? You’re not alone.
Which sounds eff-ing depressing to read from the guy who puts positivity into everything and wants to deliver a dose of Vitamin D Grant empowerment every chance I get.
But I have to admit that I’ve struggled with these depressing thoughts and beliefs. Which led to me making some very unhealthy assumptions about other people. Assumptions that would not hold up in a court of law, a court of truth, or a court of reality. The defense would have paltry evidence, if any.
So if it won’t hold up in any court, why hold it as truth in your mind?
I’ve been making changes in how I think and doing the mindset shifts to overcome this. Part of the transition is what I talk about in my new book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole.
It doesn’t take any of us too long to decide that it feels so much better to back yourself up than to tear yourself down.
Which is another dangerous result of operating out of assumptions
In all of this stuff, it’s a matter of getting in your own way by getting too much into your own head, and doing so in the most ass-backward way possible. By tearing yourself and others down.
My good friend and connection superhero Steve Palfreyman once told me,
“The more you back yourself, the faster you’ll get there.”
This statement has proven over and over to be 10000% true.
When we don’t support ourselves by fostering negative self-talk and dysfunctional beliefs, it’s like taking one of those machine guns used in the Expendables movies (the kind that never runs out of bullets), aiming at your own feet and squeezing the trigger.
The problem with that is trying to walk like a normal person after it’s over. You can’t think in successful terms or foster healthy relationship habits when you take yourself out with worries, doubts, insecurities, and fears. All driven by false beliefs and assumptions.
We all hate it when we’re on a long road trip and suddenly you come up on a massive accident. The kind where there are trucks with big flashing yellow lights. Firetrucks, police cars, and ambulances are rushing to the scene. You know it’s bad. And not only is it bad, they’ve blocked the whole interstate off. No one can move through. The exits are blocked from all the people trying to get off the road. You’re stuck. Good thing you were planning on getting to your destination in a few hours. It looks like it will take days now.
That’s what we do to ourselves. And we. Do. It. To. Ourselves.
Which sucks ass.
The alternative is to not operate like this. Which requires some different kind of actions. The kind where you look at your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and actions with some skepticism. At least at first. It means asking yourself if what you think is true. And if that thought serves you. That’s what personal development involves. Taking different actions to improve yourself and get out of your own funk.
If it is true, and you can prove it, ok. If it serves you and makes you a better person, good. And if it helps you grow and overcome an obstacle, rock on! But if it doesn’t, if it takes away from you, robbing you of your peace and solidarity, then kick it’s ass to the curb.
Because otherwise you’re letting your inner critic dictate to you who you are and what you can do, and what you can’t. No one wants to empower a bully to do what bullies do. Instead, surround yourself with some badass affirmations, good positive people, and a new set of beliefs to change the game and bring about the kind of life you want to have.
Replace the negative junk in your head with something that actually serves you
It’s about changing the game for yourself to have what it is that you really want: peace, confidence and happiness.
Did this speak to you in the stuff that’s going on inside your head? Have you made assumptions that have damaged your relationships or your growth as a person?
Don’t spend another day struggling with this stuff. I can show you some simple steps to take to gain the peace, clarity, and wholeness you want. Connect with me here and we’ll talk.