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If You Think You Know, Maybe You Do

Write it down and let’s check it back later!

It’s a pleasure to meet you again. On May 19th, 2014, Miranda Lambert released a country rock duet with Carrie Underwood called “Somethin’ Bad.” The plot is just something bad happening. They predicted it, and they acted on it as you see in the clip of the song.

Have you ever had that feeling that something bad is about to happen? Or at least have you ever thought that something bad has happened before your arrival? Sometimes you might come back home and the look in your kid’s face, or on your little sister or your pet or parent can tell you that something is wrong.

Those are human feelings. Some people call that gut feeling. Some intuition. If you limit the use of your gut feelings, meaning you seldom rely on them, you will be fine. But some people just go above and beyond simple intuition and start leaning on their assumptions. Last time we saw an uncle who relied on his intuition and assumed that his nephew had stolen his axe. And in the first strategy to identify a problem we said that we must look at a problem as a thing separate from us. Today, we are going to see the second strategy.


Strategy #2: do not rely too much on your assumptions

When trying to identify the root cause of a problem, you cannot rely on your assumptions. An assumption is something you believe has happened or is about to happen without proof. It’s a close cousin to suspicion. Both are strong feelings to have. They can distort our vision and disorient our judgment.

Let us take a digression here. When scientists make assumptions, they predict what might happen in the future from the pattern they have observed in specific data that they have studied. They create scenarios and apply their assumptions or predictions to how things are possible to play out should the trend continue. That’s why some say that because of human activity on earth, the temperature in the planet has increased since 1980. For instance, after two separate analyses of Nasa, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Noaa, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the five warmest years of the earth have occurred after 2010. They can, therefore, make assumptions that if everything we are doing right now keeps up adding speed to the trend, in such number of years, the earth with grow hot and impossible to inhabit. But these are assumptions even though they are based on relevant trackable data. No one can say for sure that in 2075 on 2100 the earth will be destroyed by heat. End of digression.

The bad news is that when we use assumptions with no evidence, we make it difficult to ourselves to find the root cause of a problem. Now if we want to solve a problem, we want to know what it is that is causing that problem to happen in the first place. So, what do we do to avoid using our assumptions against us in a problem-solving initiative?

The first thing to do is to acknowledge our assumptions. The next is to write them down verbatim the way they come to mind. Then work from there backward meaning that we do our best to stay away from our assumption. If we don’t do that, we will be tempted to take the easy way by concluding on our assumptions and believing we know what the problem is and what its causes are.

Are assumptions always bad?

No! Sometimes we find the solution from the very first thing we thought of or considered and then walk away from just to realize that that is where we need to focus. It is wise to read our list of assumptions often to see how we thought about the problem we are having and know where we are going.

In conclusion, assumptions should not be our mode of operation when it comes to identifying the problem that causes a low self-confidence and deciding on a solution. Next time, we are going to see the third strategy to use.

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