What often frustrates and derails the spiritual student is the quandary of how to live all the things learned along the path. The purpose of this blog is not to ask anyone to change a belief but to help those who are intent in their pursuit of living in alignment with their beliefs to put those ideals into their real lives.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
ASSUMPTIONS AND COMMUNICATION
I recently saw a posting on Facebook of someone whom I admire admitting
to losing the trust of a friend because he did not have all the facts.First, kudos to him for taking
accountability.Secondly, it reminded me
of just how insidious “assumption” can be.
Of course “Make No Assumptions” is the Third Agreement.More importantly, as I tell my clients, “assumption
is the mother of all screw-ups” – to paraphrase the old adage.
One falls “victim” to assumption because at some level there is fear
that what you “think you know” may actually be true and it is difficult for
most to stand in the face of that and take accountability.So, how does one escape the stranglehold of
assumption?Simple – communication.And by communication, I mean CLEAR, CONSICE,
It is important that each party know EXACTLY what the other is thinking
and trying to communicate.For example,
if one uses the word “confidential”, it is important to know what your definition
of confidential is….do you mean just between the two of us, only your immediate
circle, you might tell my friends but not my enemies or only that you won’t
post it on social media.If you tell me
you’ll “have it to you by Tuesday”, does that mean you will be handing me a
finished project on Tuesday or will I be getting a rough outline of what I
might expect in the future.
The example I most often use is that of a ball game.Suppose I call you up and invite you to play
ball Saturday at 3pm at the Oak Street Park.I have you repeat to me...Saturday...3pm…Oak Street Park...ball game...
to be sure you understand what I am trying to communicate.So it is Saturday at 3pm and I’m at Oak
Street Park and you arrive suited up to play football. However, I am suited up to play baseball.I had “assumed” you know I meant baseball
since that was my favorite sport.You
had “assumed” I had meant football since it was football season.
It is important to realize that even if you “think” you know all the
facts, those “facts” as filtered by your preconceived prejudices and belief
systems and may have nothing to do with the prejudices and beliefs of another,
ergo one may be talking apples and the other oranges.
Language is simply a methodology of trying to communicate thoughts and
mental pictures from one human to another.Without the willingness to be responsible for both the sending and
receiving of those thoughts and images miscommunication and assumption is the
inevitable outcome.And then we become
prey to the most egregious of all relationship breakdowns….holding another
responsible for an agreement they did not make.(To be addressed later.)