Generally it is not wise to make assumptions. Unfortunately I have learned this the hard way. You can either ask questions or make assumptions. If you want answers, ask questions. If you want problems build your expectations about reality on merely assumptions. Assumptions often lead to false assumptions. False assumptions often lead to miss understandings, which usually lead to a downward spiral. When it relates to others we should ask questions when we are able to. However there are times in life where we are relying on our own perceptions of people or circumstances and we have to move forward without all of the facts. In cases like that all we can do is go with what we perceive. In life we are always estimating and assuming stuff. We estimate how long our commute home will take. We assume that our house will be there when we get there. As we forecast reality we need to be able to make some safe assumptions. Think of it like bringing your umbrella to work when it is very overcast and moist in the morning but not yet raining. Or like a life preserving raft on a boat or a seat belt in a car. Life will blind side you so make sure you wear your seatbelt.
3 safe assumptions you can make.
- Things will take longer than you thought.
- Things will cost more than you thought.
- The people you trust will let you down more than your thought.
Things will take longer than you thought because there are many variables that are out of your control which can prohibit things happening exactly when and how you planned them to happen. All the planning in the world can not stop something that is out of your control. So enjoy the process and be patient with yourself and others. Things will cost more than you thought because things break, and it costs money for parts and labor. A first time home owner, a first time parent or first time Mercedes Benz owner can attest to this reality. When you buy something nice be sure to research the cost of maintenance and factor that into your decision. Also having an emergency fund is a wise way to prevent a problem from becoming a crisis. The people you trust will let you down more than you thought. This is a painful reality because you trusted them. You can avoid unnecessary disappointment by verbalizing your expectations. Once you verbalize your expectations then you can determine if those expectations are realistic or not. Unverbalized expectations almost always leads to disappointment. It is important to factor in let downs and disappointments into your meaningful relationships. Give people permission to be human. Meaningful relationships are not perfect because we are not perfect. Be merciful because one day you will need some mercy.
There are more ways to communicate now than ever before and it is only going to increase. That doesn’t necessarily mean people are communicating more effectively. Through putting my foot in my mouth several hundred thousand times I hope to save you some pain and some time. I hope that my lessons learned can be your problems avoided. Effective communication starts by listening, but also includes perceiving your audience correctly. Knowing your audience is as crucial as knowing what you want to say and why you want to say it and how you should say it. To effectively communicate sometimes we must say what we are not saying, so people can understand what we are saying. Also sometimes stating why you are saying what you are saying brings further clarity. Doing so can help build trust with your audience if they perceive that you are sincere in your motives and true in your content. Another thing to remember in your communication is to be gentle in tone but clear in your content. If there is any room to be misunderstood the communication was not effective or the audience was not attentive. Be inclusive when you talk and talk to people, not at them. People will be attentive as long as you are interesting. Remember to be clear and concise. After you have said what is necessary you must become observant to see if the listeners heard and understood what you have just stated. Sometimes to restate what you are saying in a different way is also very helpful. Here is an example of an initial statement, “the best way to protect your future is to guard your heart today.” Here is a similar reiteration, “the most strategic thing you can do for your future is guard your heart in the present.” Saying the same thing with different words increases the retention rate of your listeners. If they know and feel that you care they will pay attention and learn. They will learn as much as you care. So keeping caring and sharing so others can learn and grow.