If someone came up to you on the street and said “challenge your assumptions” then walked away, what would you think? Maybe you wouldn’t think anything, but more than likely your thoughts would drift to thinking that person must be ill or you may even feel assaulted. Few of us would say “thank you” or “I probably should,” it wouldn’t occur to us to notice what was really said, no we would react from a place of assumptions.
Surprise! we do the same thing in business meeting and around the dinner table with family and friends all the time. If fact right now as you read this your mind is busily deciding if indeed you do this.
“The best assumption to have is that any commonly held belief is wrong.” Ken Olsen former CEO of DEC
One of pillars of Generative Dialogue is the practice of noticing our assumptions in each moment. Silence and observation are two the best tools to use as you set out to challenge your assumptions.
- When in a group sit in silence after someone has finished talking, ask questions to clarify what you heard and to challenge the assumptions already formed in your mind, the assumptions just waiting to jump off your tongue.
- Approach each situation and each person as if it was for the first time. How would you act if each situation you find yourself is brand new, how would you speak if you treat everything you hear as if for the first time.
We make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong. Don Miguel Ruiz, Author
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