The human mind is an exceptional tool capable of both exquisite reasoning and monumental miscalculation. Often, we fall victim to the latter by allowing unchecked assumptions to dominate our thought processes, thereby coloring our perception of reality. Our perceptions, then, are not always a reflection of the world as it truly is, but a mirror that reflects our own insecurities, desires, and untested beliefs.
Susceptibility to Assumptions:
A lawyer, by trade, thrives on evidence. We dissect cases, we investigate, and we validate claims. Yet, even as someone who has spent years practicing law, I’ve had to face my own susceptibility to assumptions. Like many, I’ve fallen into the trap of expecting the world to operate under the same principles and codes I abide by. I’ve anticipated reciprocity where it was not promised and projected my own feelings onto others, believing they would respond in kind. But the world, I’ve learned, isn’t bound by our beliefs about it.
Our assumptions often cause us to miss the truth. In my younger years, I ventured into a summer job selling Bibles door to door. I assumed this endeavor would be profitable and easy. My assumptions, fueled by naiveté and a dash of laziness, proved costly. The age-old adage from that training experience still rings in my ears, “When you assume something, you’re making an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.”
Our assumptions extend beyond personal relationships into the societal sphere. We assume our government is always acting with our best interests at heart. We expect the legal system to be fair, our tap water to be safe, and our loved ones to love us back in the same measure. But how often do we validate these beliefs? How frequently do we challenge our assumptions and inquire for proof?
The Answer to Assumptions:
Assumptions are powerful in shaping our perception of reality, but they can lead us down a path of confusion and misunderstanding. So, how do we break free from the shackles of our own assumptions? The answer is simple: by asking questions.
Asking questions invites clarity and dispels the cloud of assumption. Especially in relationships, it’s crucial to not assume agreement or feelings without explicit communication. We often refrain from asking hard questions out of fear – fear of the answer, fear of judgment. Yet, by doing so, we allow our assumptions to weave a reality that may exist only in our minds.
When we replace assumption with open communication, we create space for understanding and truth. We can foster more genuine relationships, and the walls of our assumptions start to crumble. No matter how intuitive we believe we are, we cannot truly know what another person is thinking. Therefore, assuming otherwise is a disservice to ourselves and others.
All Perception is Projection
Few attorneys (or people in general) realize that data is filtered and analyzed before it reaches our consciousness. In other words, there is a lag time of at least several milliseconds between “seeing” something and it registering in our brain. What we see goes through filters of judgment, bias, beliefs, and assumptions before we even are aware of what we have seen.
If we were to see someone running carrying a purse, our brain would make some assumptions as to what was happening. It could be a thief; it could be a transgender athlete; there are several possibilities of what we have seen. This is why several people can witness the same event and have different opinions about what they saw.
We have to be very careful about what we conclude we see, hear, feel, or detect in our environment. Our biases can make us falsely assume there is a threat or a danger which can make us overreact. Objectivity is the goal of meditation and enlightenment.
Our perception is the secret to everything. It shapes our experiences, our relationships, and our interactions with the world. Therefore, we must remain vigilant about the accuracy of our perception, constantly scrutinizing our assumptions and striving for open communication. Only then can we unlock a world that is less about what we assume it to be and more about what it truly is.
PS: Are you ready to leave assumptions behind, communicate with more openness and create a space for better understanding? James, the world’s leading healer, coach, and lawyer, is ready to help you. Book a free consultation and start your transformative journey now!