Wednesday, August 10, 2005
of course, some of these assumptions are useful. our brains create a database of conclusions based on past experiences in order to reduce the amount of brain power that has to be exerted in repeat situations. assuming that if you put your hand on a hot iron you will get burned is probably a safe bet. assuming that if you step out into oncoming traffic you may get hit, also probably a good conclusion. but laws of the physical universe aside, the rest of life is largely flexible and ever-changing and our assumptions about how it will go limit us incredibly.
we as human beings are amazing problem solvers. many have argued that solving problems is to humans what herding sheep is to sheep dogs or spinning silk is to silk worms - it is what we were designed to do. assumptions clog up our problem solving abilities in a serious way. when we assume that a situation will unfold just as similar situations have in the past we remove our present time flexible intelligence from that situation. we lose all ability to think creatively about how to respond because we've already concluded what is going to happen.
in reality, every situation is brand new. even if the same people gather at the same time each day in the same place and do the same activity it will always be new. how could it not be? there will be new ideas in our brains, new growth in our physical bodies, and new weather happening in the world around us among a million other new things taking place - and as a result new opportunities to take hold of.
life is full of surprising twists and turns. by deciding not to make assumptions we open ourselves up the world as it truly is: ever-changing and full of possibility. we open ourselves up to being the brilliant problem solvers we are, to our creativity and our flexibility. moreover, setting aside our assumptions is ulitimately what allows us to grow and change and to make our lives what we want them to be.
when do you find yourself making assumptions?
how would your life be different if you decided to set your assumptions aside and just experience life as it happens?
as always post your own thoughts & findings - i'd love to hear!