Many of your decisions, that you presume are rational, tend to be nothing more than mere assumptions. You might be completely unaware that such assumptions exist in your thought process that makes you follow through with these decisions. This can make you act or respond wrongly to situations, making things tougher to deal with.
For instance, you might decide to visit the local church today and prepare your entire family for it. But after reaching the church, you may find that it has been closed due to renovation. The fault here lies in the fact that you basically assumed that the church would be open. You never bothered to make a call and confirm the same. If you had called, you wouldn’t have wasted your time dressing up and traveling all the way to the church.
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If you are someone who feels that your decisions are being too influenced by assumptions, here are three ways you can free your thought process from such biases.
1. Always ask why
The easiest way to avoid the influence of assumptions is to always ask “why” when deciding something. If you keep asking “why,” it is inevitable that even if an assumption were to be a part of the thinking process, it would be questioned and analyzed.
Imagine you are throwing a party for your office mates. You may decide not to invite your superior due to the fact that he usually does not attend parties. If you were to question yourself why you think your boss will not attend your party, you’ll realize that you have simply assumed that he wouldn’t attend since he hasn’t attended the parties others had thrown.
Maybe your boss had other important things to do during those times. However, he might be free this time and might actually come to your party. Imagine how badly it will reflect on you for not inviting your boss. So always question your decisions before you jump to act on it and you should keep away the influence of most assumptions.
Sometimes, the best way to identify assumptions is to get a fresh perspective on the entire issue. On your own, this can be difficult since human beings are mostly hardwired to think in a specific manner they are used to. However, if you were to get the opinion of others, they might point out some of the flaws in your thinking process and choices that could very well be due to the existence of false assumptions.
So when you feel mentally stuck on some topic and are unable to decide what is right and wrong, or simply feel that there is something wrong with your thought process, call up your best friend or other peers and discuss the issue with them.
3. Worst-case scenario
In some situations, your assumptions might only exist due to your fear of something turning up bad due to the choices you make. You might not become aware of this until you do a worst-case scenario analysis on the topic.
For example, you might plan out an excellent marketing campaign for your business to beat your competitor in a particular region. However, the budget you have assigned for marketing might be small and because of this, you might not be able to sustain it for a long time. This might even affect the success of the campaign. You might have limited the budget assuming that you need to minimize the losses in case the campaign is ineffective.
However, if you actually increase the budget, it might also raise the success of the campaign. So why assume that you might lose out and then plan accordingly. Consider what the worst-case scenario is. Maybe the losses can be easily recuperated in just a single year. But given the higher possibility of widening the market share, wouldn’t it make sense to actually go full out in the campaign and raise the budget?
So whenever you are planning out something in which you are weighing the pros and cons, make sure to always look at the worst-case scenario before you make a decision. This will help avoid any assumptions based on fear.