The assumption we’re all taught about assumptions is that they will make an a-s-s out of u-m-e… In other words, assuming too much can make you seem foolish. Color me foolish then because I find assumptions to be one of the most useful mental tools in my toolbox. I think they act as helpful mental shortcuts and can help maintain mental resilience. I make the following assumptions constantly; I am wrong a lot:
I assume I’ll be good at whatever I try. Why sell myself short before I even begin? When I am not good at something I feel I should be, instead of feeling discouraged, I find myself putting in more work and effort because I want my performance to sync with my mental framework. Even if my assumption is wrong and I end up being terrible at something, I know I put in effort to align my actions with my thoughts, and I don’t need to beat myself up about it.
I assume everything will be easy for me. Nothing comes without a learning curve, but believing something will be too hard before I begin is giving myself an excuse to avoid effort. For example, learning to code is one of the most challenging things I’ve done in a long time. Before beginning, I knew it was going to be challenging, but I believed it would be easy for me to overcome that challenge. I know it will take time to become fluent, but I believe it will be an easy road to travel if I pave it with patience, diligence, and honest feedback. I attribute my lack of proficiency to the steepness of the learning curve, not the difficulty of the task.
I assume that everything will be OK if my assumptions are wrong. Being wrong doesn’t have to be a blow to the ego. Just shrug it off and learn something! When I’m wrong, I consider it an opportunity to be honest with myself, and I give myself a chance to reflect. It allows me to self-correct and adapt my mental framework. I’d rather try and be wrong than be afraid and inactive.
Those three assumptions allow me to maintain a positive and resilient state of mind when I approach new tasks or need to learn new things. Although it might sound like overconfidence to some, it is an approach I use to reduce the weight of the external factors putting pressure on me. My assumptions act as mechanisms to help me align my thoughts and actions, and they act as frames for positive self talk. For example, instead of telling myself I’m terrible at writing python scripts when a concept doesn’t click, I make my assumptions and remind myself that I am good, and that it is easy, and that I am just not yet doing what it takes to perform at the level I imagine. My assumptions move me.