A few days ago, I posted this photo of me with my friend’s son and asked “who he looks like”. Some of my close friends expressed their surprise for not telling them that I already have a kid.
I know the question was loaded to make them think that the kid is mine. I am also guilty of making assumption in my life that sometimes curtails my ability to understand a situation correctly. It made me take wrong route in academic life as well as personal life.
Assumption and academic life:
My first encounter with “assumption” that changed my life occurred in Hawaii – during my transition period from Physics to Environmental Engineering. Coming from science background, I don’t assume anything while solving an engineering and complex problem. I ended up not solving some because it was nearly impossible to solve those problems without simplifying those by correct assumptions.
Right assumption may simplify the problem to get a meaningful answer. Our obsession for simplification sometimes changes the basis of the problem and we may found ourself solving a modified or entirely different problem.
Starting from scratch and going to the basic without too much assumptions should be the best way to go. Imagine Netwon would not have discovered the power of gravity or Einstein would not have realized the theory of relativity if they would have assumed what everyone had been assuming. The greatest scientific invention comes when one refuses to make blind assumptions.
Assumption should be our last resort to solve any problem. Because assumption is a biased opinion based on our previous experience that might not be perfect.
Assumption and social life:
Imagine your friend/partner/colleague acts in a manner that is very uncomfortable or socially unacceptable to you. What is our first reaction? More often than not, we start making assumption and start judging even before we listen to their complete story. Fight/misunderstanding rises and we get stuck with finding the answer about who is right and who is wrong.
There is not always an answer for every misunderstanding when the problem lies with our attitude of making assumption based on our life’s experience. Everything is okay when we are listening without making assumption. However, the moment we do, we stop listening and start judging. An example of wrong assumption and following events that change the heart of a father is told in this “$100 – a touching story”
We blame everything on being overly judgmental or not listening. Little do we know that act of making assumption at each moment of any conversation is the origin of every misunderstanding or no understanding.
Blind assumption is the worst enemy of creative thinking and our understanding in establishing any relationship in science or social life.
Everyday our vision is blurred based on the assumption we make in daily life. It distorts our judgment. We end up landing on a place that is far from ideal. And everything begins with an assumption.
What assumption have you made today? Was it helpful or not so helpful? Please share your story with us.