Watch Your Assumptions

I watch a lot of late movies. It used to be what a good friend of mine calls, “staying up stupid late.” Now that I only work out of my home things are a little different. Add in other circumstances and I’m up late a LOT.

So I just finished watching the Science-Fiction spoof, “Mars Attacks!” It is one of those silly flicks that if you catch all the references made to other movies & TV shows it can be hilarious. Or, if not, like my honey, it is a total dud.

Part of the silliness is the President of the U.S. played by Jack Nicholson. He makes the assumption that the invading Martians mean well. To the point of stupidity. They kill the Press, head of the Army, and most of the onlookers, well-wishers and soldiers who are welcoming them with the full Red Carpet treatment. The Pres thinks it’s all a big mistake. One of his staff tells him it must just be a misunderstanding. He eagerly accepts this and invites them to try again. This time they address the combined houses and wipe them all out too.

So what does the dear old President do? Nuke ’em? No. He wants to make sure that there is a cop on every corner and let the people know that the Executive & Judiciary Branches of Government are still fine and, “two out of three ain’t

His problem? (Other than the fact that it is just a silly movie?) He started with a poor presumption that did not match the facts. Then, when new facts proved him wrong he unwaveringly stood by that assumption. Finally when the evidence showed him to be totally wrong, he acted but not in a useful manner and NEVER acknowledged his error in any way.

Now the Martians had their own problems going on. They ALSO were going forward using a set of assumptions. Basically their supposition was that all the world was as helpless, useless and defenceless as the politicians they were dealing with. They had not reckoned with the bottomless pit of resourcefulness to be found in a group including, a over-the-hill boxer, Tom Jones, a pyramid power airhead, a loser & his grandma and the awesome yodeling power of “Indian Love Call” by Jeanette & Eddy Nelson MacDonald. WOW!

Sure, sure. I know how ridiculous this all sounds. Well that’s because it is. No, not the movie.

People, you – me, all of us are out there daily acting on assumptions. Most of which are false. We are looking at the world through rose or whatever colored glasses. There is a terrible tendency to approach the world not in the way it
is….but in the way we want it to be, or the way someone told us it is.

The truth is we need to constantly test the waters, gather info, correlate the data and revise our plans. Know where you want to go and remember there is more than one way to get there.

Does this relate to business? Does it fit anywhere into the way we handle relationships? Can it change the way we live? The way we deal with life? Without a doubt.

Drop ALL your assumptions and look for what is genuine. The dictionary defines assumption thus; A hypothesis that is taken for granted, and thus; Audacious (even arrogant) behavior that you have no right to. That’s right! We have NO RIGHT to most of our assumptions because they are NOT RIGHT.

Pardon the crudity but the best way to remember the point is the way I learned it. When I was in high school a teacher told me to “Never assume things. As soon as you do you are wrong.”

I, never having been the one to shut up and walk away to save myself from a disagreement, said “Why?” And he told me to take the word apart. I had no idea what he was saying but I knew I should have kept quiet when the kids around me began to snicker.

He went to the blackboard and wrote: ASS / U / ME. “When you assume something, you make an ass out of you and me. And I don’t like that.”

His crude portrayal of course embarrassed me in public. And yet, I am thankful to have learned it at the cost of a little pride. I have seen the lesson learned to the tune of millions of dollars lost and even lives lost. So have you.

So let’s get it straight and no assumptions.

Till next time. Good luck and God Bless. Remember, IdeasWIN, develop yours.

Original Source:
Posted 6-21-2001

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