An assumption is something that we take for granted without bothering to find proof to support it. Assumptions are necessary. We have to assume many things to go about our daily lives. This is because we do not have the time and energy to challenge or to worry about every matter that comes our way. Unless we take certain things for granted, it would be very difficult to live. But making too many assumptions can also cause us problems. In this article, I shall address the dangers of assumptions.
Assumptions Stifle Growth and Development
Many people are quick to form assumptions about things that they have never tried before. Take a book for example. Based on an unappealing cover or title, or a negative review, they might dismiss it as a waste of time. Such assumptions can stifle your growth and development. If you dismiss ideas before learning about them or trying it out for yourself, you will miss many chances to become a better person.
Assumptions Hinder Creativity
Assumptions hinder our creative output. When we make assumptions, we place limits on our imagination and actions. We shut off many possibilities to come up with something new. Instead, we assume that we must do certain things in a certain manner and do not bother to ask why. Due to our assumptions, our solutions are hardly novel. What we end up doing is merely to repackage existing ideas. Instead of breaking new ground, we remain in our comfort zone and have difficulty coming up with fresh ideas.
Assumptions Cause Missed Opportunities
I have always wanted to visit Turkey and the Middle East. But not all the people I know who have visited the region have good things to say about it. It is tempting to assume that they might know better than I would. But if I made such an assumption, I would miss the chance of seeing things for myself. Different people can view the same event in different ways. If we assume too many things instead of trying it out for ourselves, we would miss many opportunities.
Assumptions Cause Erroneous Beliefs
Have you ever heard of the old wives’ tale that eating carrots can help you to improve your vision? How about getting wet from the rain could cause you to catch a cold? For those of us who are aware of the facts, it would seem odd to believe in such things. But there are people who have never thought to challenge these assumptions. They take such beliefs for granted.
Assumptions Cause Errors in Action and Judgment
Up until the 1800s, doctors believed that bloodletting was good for treating any type of ailment. Based on this faulty assumption, many doctors bled their patients to death instead of curing them. If the patient managed to survive, his body had to work doubly hard against the ailment and the loss of blood. When we make the wrong assumptions, we view events from a flawed perspective. As such, we are bound to make errors in our actions and judgment. In the worst-case scenario, we can end up causing harm to others or ourselves.
Assumptions Cause Misunderstandings
First impressions count. Imagine that you saw a person, who you never met before, losing his temper. Next, imagine that he was your new colleague. Your first impression of him would lead you to assume he was bad-tempered and unreasonable even if that was the only time he lost his temper. Unless you make an effort to know him better, you could easily get the wrong idea about him because of your assumptions.
We need to make certain assumptions in life. There is no way around this. But we should always be willing to look carefully at the assumptions we make. If need be, we should never be afraid to challenge their validity. Unless we do so, we will only end up missing opportunities and causing problems for ourselves that we could have avoided in the first place.
What are your views about assumptions? What are some of the assumptions that you make in life? Are there any other dangers of assumptions that you can think of? Do share your thoughts and comments below.