I’ll Have A Coffee And An Opinion, Please

One of the things that life has attempted to teach me so far, is that assuming things is a very dangerous and stupid thing to do. Doesn’t really matter in what context, as soon as we start assuming anything, things go wrong, people get misunderstood, situations get out of hand, and we miss out on a lot of good.

Assuming that you have all the knowledge prevents you from actually learning. Assuming that all you hear and see is true prevents you from searching the real truth. Assuming that other people understands you prevents people from actually understanding you. Assuming that other people know your intentions leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Assuming that there is always a right and a wrong prevents us from seeing the whole picture. Assuming anything about another person prevents us from actually getting to know that person. Assuming that we understand prevents us from trying to really understand. Assuming there are things we cannot do prevents us from doing those things.

As quoted by Ellen DeGeneres:

“You should never assume. You know what happens when you assume. You make an ass of you and me because that’s how it’s spelled.”

I think that pretty much sums it all up.

I wish I could say that by realizing this I from now on never assume anything anymore, but it is never that easy. I assume things all the time, and every time it seems to come back at me and hit me in the head. Still, unfortunately, like an idiot, I keep doing it, and I am starting to wonder if I will ever learn.

And since I am openly admitting to the crime of making assumptions, I guess I can’t really point fingers at others making the same mistake, so I try not to, but then again… Reading and hearing the comments and opinions of many people, it is clear that so many base their knowledge about the world completely on assumptions. Sometimes people even spell it out; I assume this is how it is, so therefor my opinion is… And I guess that would be all fair and okay if it stayed there, but it doesn’t. People build very strong opinions, and go very far to express and promote these opinions, which are all mostly based on assumptions. I guess it’s just easier that way; easier to pick up an opinion along with our coffee to go, at our usual coffee shop in the corner where the owner already knows how we want it, as we rush to where ever it is we need to be. Because creating an opinion in any other way would mean we need to make too much of an effort, and we don’t seem to have neither time nor energy or will for that. We’ll just take what ever is included with the coffee.

Just like many opinions, many relationships are damaged by assumptions alone. We assume we know, assume we understand, assume the other person gets it, assume people do certain things fro certain reasons. It is easier to assume, make a fast and simple picture in our heads and then act on that, than to do a crazy thing like asking. Asking, listening, understanding – those things takes a lot of effort, and maybe also time. We don’t want that. Why make it hard, when we can make it easy. Why ask, when assumptions can give us a more or less satisfying explanation, regardless of if it’s true or not. It is easier to assume that a person is an ass, than to make an effort to try and figure out the underlying reasons for that person’s behavior. We judge and we point fingers, because it is easier than trying to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

I can’t help but wonder, what would the world look like if more people took the harder road?