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Talk with the Doc: Don’t make assumptions, always ask questions

Dr. Jim Surrell, Journal columnist

When we assume something, we are making an assumption. So, let us start out by looking at the specific definition of an assumption. An assumption is defined as something that is accepted by a person as being true, or a belief that something is certain to happen, without any known proof of it. Further, an assumption is also defined as something that we accept as true without ever having questioned it and without ever having checked for any proof of it. Simply stated, making assumptions simply means that we believe that things are true and correct with little or no evidence that shows that they are correct. I am sure that all of us, at one time or another, have made assumptions that have turned out to be totally incorrect.

So, what happens when we make assumptions? For example, if someone tells us something that we don’t completely understand, many of us will make assumptions rather than ask questions about what was just said to us. If our assumption turns out to be wrong, this potentially can have a significant negative impact on our association with that person. It is so much more important to ask questions about something we don’t completely understand, because so many of the assumptions we make are simply not true. If the conversation we are having is in any way important to us, then we should always ask questions if we do not completely understand what is being discussed. Again, it is so very important to ask questions to fulfill our need to know something rather than to make assumptions. We all need to know that our assumptions are merely a guess on our part and these assumptions very often turn out not to be true. Know that assumptions have the potential to lead to negative and unwanted results.

Let me now add some rather profound quotes for all of us to consider regarding making assumptions.

“Don’t make assumptions.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the best selling book, “The Four Agreements”.

“Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble.” – Lemony Snicket

“While you judge me by my outward appearance I am silently doing the same to you, even though there’s a ninety percent chance that in both cases our assumptions are wrong.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

“Assumptions are made and most assumptions are wrong.” – Albert Einstein

“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.” – Franciscan Friar William of Ockham

“Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.” – Marshall McLuhan

“Ask if you need to, but don’t assume. Sometimes our bad feelings are only assumptions and speculations doing dark dances in our heads.” – Bonnie Lyn Smith

“We all make basic assumptions about things in life, but sometimes those assumptions are wrong. We must never trust in what we assume, only in what we know.” – Darren Shan

“How would your life be different if you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day… you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” – Steve Maraboli

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books.Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.

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