How Challenging Your Assumptions Can Change Everything

Every day, I hear people making assumptions.

They talk so confidently about them, they clearly believe them to be facts. Throughout my career, I have realised how damaging limiting assumptions can be. How they can infiltrate into daily conversation as the truth, and spiral out of control. Instead of basing our thoughts on what we know for a fact, we can often base them on our own emotions, beliefs and expectations.

I’ll never forget attending a leadership course a number of years ago, and the facilitator challenged one of the delegates quite hard, when he said;

“I don’t want to know what you THINK, I want to know what you KNOW…”

That was a fair challenge.

In a recent Forbes article, I read the following statement that I absolutely love…

“…. how you see the world isn’t how it is. It’s the way YOU are.”  (Warrell, M.  March 2013)

Just take a moment to think about that. 

When I hear people using language like ‘always and never…’ and imagining what the future is going to hold in a negative way, it truly fascinates me. I used to be as guilty as the next person of this, until I learned more about psychology,  what goes on in our minds, and more importantly, how we can control our thoughts.  Through being coached myself, I woke up to the damage that limiting assumptions can have, but very relieved to know that there are positive solutions out there that can change them.

I used to frequently hear one of my family complaining about their fitness levels, so I asked whether they had considered taking up running.

“I can’t run…I’ve never been able to run…” was the answer I would receive.

After some gentle persuasion, this family member started to walk faster, then a little faster, then a gentle trot, then a run, then a sub 60 minute 10km run.

This family member now loves running.  In fact, she is running her first half marathon this year. It has helped her fitness levels and her mindset, and she continues to challenge herself more and more….

What happened to ‘never being able to run??’ A great example of a limiting assumption forging it’s way into one’s belief system.

Our assumptions can have a serious impact on how we make decisions, in both business and in our personal life.  If you believe your own assumptions to be true, then you are unlikely to challenge them, in fact, you will live your life to support these limiting assumptions. It’s way easier to play it safe, than challenge your assumptions….unless you believe that there is more to life and more to you.

So, if you start to recognise that you are making some limiting assumptions, take the following five steps to overcome them:-

Five Ways To Overcome Limiting Assumptions 

  1. Stay open-minded to new ideas.
  2. Look for evidence in others than can challenge your assumption.
  3. Look in the mirror and ask: “How do I know this?”
  4. Daydream long and hard about the art of the possible.
  5. Ask yourself the following challenging questions….
    • What assumptions am I making about myself?
    • What makes me think that?
    • What other ways can I think about my situation?
    • What options could I create?
    • What’s my biggest fear?
    • How could I change my assumptions?

I’m hoping that this article has started to challenge how you view your world.

If you would like to send me your feedback, or require further support to release your own potential, to challenge your limiting assumptions and develop your self awareness, then please contact:- for more information.  

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