Assumption Wars

What if Darth Vader had said in a raspy voice, “LUKE!  I AM YOUR MOTHER.”

Ok, let me back up!  This piece of writing started very simply with a text message I sent to Ina Lukas, The Chief Happiness Officer at Heroic Yes! Productions, that asked something like, “Wouldn’t it have been different if Darth Vader had said, “Luke, I am your mother?”

We got a good laugh.  Then Ina suggested that my random question might be good blog material so I wrote the idea down a month ago.  Then I started writing more today…

Now I’m thinking, “What the heck do I say next?”

Have you ever had an idea that you thought was really promising, only to create part of it and then

STOP

because you felt stuck?

After that, you were probably just staring at white space on a piece of paper that looks a lot like this:

(                                                             ) = White Space

At this point, part of you might have made the ASSUMPTION that your idea wasn’t any good because you felt blank at the moment and were staring into white space.

All the while another part of you might continue to make the ASSUMPTION that your idea is a wonderful idea.

Suddenly you have an ASSUMPTION WAR waging furiously in your head between Darth “My Idea Is No Good” Vader and Luke “I Have A Wonderful Idea” Skywalker.

WATCH OUT!  Each one of them has their ASSUMPTION SABER and they’re battling it out.

Who wins?

ASSUMPTION WARS lead me to contemplate, WHAT IF Thomas Edison had had an ASSUMPTION WAR with himself about inventing the light bulb and WHAT IF….

Darth “My Idea Is No Good” Vader and Luke “I Have A Wonderful Idea” Skywalker had fought it out with CANDLE SABERS and WHAT IF Darth had WON?

Would I be writing this with a quill pen?

Would you be reading this on parchment while you washed you laundry in the river?

I’m so glad young Skywalker won the ASSUMPTION WAR going on in Thomas Edison’s head.  Aren’t you?

Your ideas are so powerful!  They could light the world hundreds of years from now.

MAY YOUR CREATIVE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

Game of the Day

What’s an idea that you are currently having an ASSUMPTION WAR about?

How can you help Luke “I Have A Wonderful Idea” Skywalker win this ASSUMPTION WAR?

How can you strengthen your CREATIVE FORCE?

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. 

Making Assumptions About What Others Assume (About You)

When you are walking down the street and say, “Good Morning” to a stranger passing by, what do you assume that person assumes about you?

Even after all the work I have done to create healthy self-confidence for myself, I noticed this morning while on a walk that when I said “Good Morning” to a person I passed, I assumed that they assumed that I was of low intelligence because of my speech impediment.  Does my assumption, in fact, represent the truth of what the people I passed were thinking or anywhere close to it?  Upon reflection, I realized that I had absolutely no idea.

What inaccurate assumptions do you assume that others assume about you the moment they meet you?

Maybe we ought to say, “Hi! Glad to meet you.  I already assume that you are making assumptions about me and, just so you know, it is going to take you a while to prove that you are not.”

This is craziness!

Rather than enjoying the process of meeting someone, we often assume that we have to disprove assumptions that we assume the person we just met is assuming about us.

(This is lots of assuming and the other person has barely said anything yet!)

Or we could just state flat out what we assume the person we just met is thinking.  In my case, I could say, “Hi, I’m Jason! It’s awesome to meet you.  And by the way, I already assume that you assume that I’m of very low intelligence because of the sound of my voice.  Want to be friends?”  (This approach might be slightly awkward.)

If we are going to naturally make assumptions about what people we are just meeting think of us, why not replace our disempowering assumptions with empowering ones?

For example, Daniel instantly assumes that whenever he meets someone, they are making the assumption that he is a goof-off and not professional.  He could work to become fully conscious of this assumption and then consciously tell himself when he meets people that they instantly admire him, want to be his friend, and see him as a professional.  Of course, Daniel is still making assumptions, but now the assumptions that he is making work in his favor.

What would it be like to assume that when people meet us, they instantly see someone they like, someone they admire, and someone they want to be friends with?

Game of the Day

If you find yourself assuming that people you just have met are making inaccurate or negative assumptions about you:

  1. Practice becoming fully conscious of these assumptions.
  2. Practice replacing these limiting assumptions with positive assumptions.

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.

On The Other Side of Mistaken Assumptions

When we talk with people we have never met on the phone, we naturally observe their voice and make assumptions about them based on their voice.  I speak in a unique way, which is often called a speech impediment.  People naturally make assumptions based on the sound of my voice and I can understand how easy that is to do.  I know that if I had never met myself and heard the sound of my voice on the phone, I would probably also make mistaken assumptions about my intellect and ability to function in the world.

Gentle ways exist of showing people that the assumptions they make about us aren’t true.  For example, since I realize that people I have just met might naturally make assumptions about me based on my speech, I take care to converse with them in an intelligent manner.

They then know by the content of what I bring to our conversation that their assumptions are not accurate.  On other occasions, I just say at the beginning of our conversation that my speech is unique and if they have any problem understanding me to ask for clarification.

What mistaken assumptions do people commonly make about you upon first meeting you?  What would be some gentle ways of showing them that these assumptions are not accurate?

Far more important even than the mistaken assumptions other people make about us are the mistaken assumptions we make about the nature of our own limitations.  For example, at different points in my life, I assumed that because of coordination issues, I could not write more than a few sentences longhand, wash dishes or do yoga.  Now I fill up notebooks with my writings and often go to yoga class six or seven times a week.

And I discovered that I’m a pro at washing dishes.  OK, I admit it, sometimes I let them pile-up before I take responsibility for washing them.  But eventually I get the job done

What mistaken assumptions have you made about yourself in the past and since disproven?

These reflections make me curious about the mistaken assumptions we believe about ourselves that we still hold as accurate.  These are the assumptions that make us say, I can’t, as if it is the cold hard truth, when in fact it could just be a misunderstanding of ourselves.

From a lifetime of experience with a so-called speech impediment, I know that there can be a great deal of room for misunderstanding.  We especially have a tendency to misunderstand what we are truly capable of.  It often takes patience and courage to get past our misunderstandings of ourselves. The reward is once we get past these misunderstandings, we are freer to live a confident life and pursue our dreams.

Game of the Day

When you listen to yourself and look at your life, what assumptions do you make about your limits?

How would your life be different if you had the confidence that these were mistaken assumptions and not accurate?