What’s Your Basic Assumption About People?

It’s unanimous! Everyone wants you to achieve your dreams! 

Do you believe the words in the line above? If not, how would your life be different if you deeply believed the above sentence?

I pose this question because for many years my basic assumption about people was that I needed to prove to them that I was somebody.  Armed with this assumption, I used to feel driven to debate with the strong intent of proving my point, or said in another way, I used to like to just plain argue with people.  I was a pro at getting in arguments with friends and family.  These arguments were mostly of the mild variety but arguments nevertheless.

What I gradually discovered was that I was automatically assuming that people would discount me.  And when I assumed people were going to automatically discount me, I would start to argue with them to PROVE myself to them.  And when I started arguing, they would often be motivated to defend their view and discount my opinion, thereby conveniently proving my assumption that people would discount me.  (Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.)

All my arguments really proved was that I was good at beginning arguments.

If my basic assumption about people had been, “It’s unanimous! Everyone wants you to achieve your dreams,” would I have started so many arguments?  Of course not!  Why argue with people who wanted me to achieve my dreams?  

When we make the assumption that others are rooting for us, we offer far more respect to ourselves and everyone else.  Also believing that everyone is on our side naturally inspires us to start acting in a more positive way towards others and to minimize our arguing.  These changes in our actions empower people to be as kind and supportive towards us.

I’ve found that people are often as kind and supportive towards us as we assume them to be.

(Our general assumption about people may be occasionally disproved in practice and should not displace common sense.  We will see in the course of our interactions with some people that they, for whatever reason, definitely do not have our best interest at heart.  Then we take steps appropriate to that situation.)

Our basic assumption about other people seems to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, kind of like how a boomerang comes right back to us.   If this is the case, I’m all for making really super-amazing assumptions about other people and about life.

Game of the Day

What is your basic assumption about how people will treat you?

Are you happy with your current assumption about how other people will treat you or do you want to experiment with making a different assumption?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 


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