Don't Make Assumptions

Our Four Agreements book club continues this week as we discuss the third agreement: don't make assumptions. This week's video shares a few personal anecdotes, including an assumption made by a Daily Connoisseur reader and the events that ensued. To check out this week's video, watch it above, click here, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Here are some favorite quotes from this chapter:

We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking— we take it personally— then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. p. 63-64

Do you see how all of the agreements are linked? Once one agreement is broken it is easy for a snowball effect to occur in which all agreements are broken (as you'll see in this week's video).

We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing. p. 64

Whenever any drama is going on in your life, ask yourself if you've made any assumptions. When you are in the thick of the drama, it seems very serious and important. Then looking back at it down the line, it seems so silly. These dramas can largely be avoided by not making assumptions.

We have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality. We literally dream things up in our imaginations. p. 65

Remember what Don Miguel Ruiz said about how we believe lies as truth? Making an incorrect assumption is believing a lie and taking it as reality.

For example, I receive a lot of emails and private messages everyday from readers. I love to get them. I read them all and treasure each one. Because of the large volume of emails I receive I rarely am able to respond to them. I always hope that the person who has sent the email does not make the assumption that I don't care about them because I have not responded when quite the opposite is true.

We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. p. 69

I find this to be very true for relationships. Sometimes (OK a lot of the time) men and women have a hard time living together in the same space because they see life very differently. The man might want the television in the bedroom and the woman could think of nothing worse. The woman might like the bed to be piled with pillows and the man might prefer one pillow per person. A woman might expect to engage in a meaningful conversation with her husband at the end of the day and her husband might want to quietly watch the football game. Not everyone sees life the way we do and it helps to remind yourself of that, especially when dealing with relationships.

For much more on this topic, I hope you'll watch this week's video, Don't Make Assumptions.

I'm really enjoying your comments on these agreements. Please let me know this week what your experience is with making assumptions. Do you have any anecdotes to share? Any tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments section, tweet me or write on my facebook wall. I love to hear from you!


Lessons from Madame Chic got a mention in Newsweek this past week in an article called Learning Out À La Francaise.

See you next week when we discuss the final agreement: Always Do Your Best (my favorite!)

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Dinorah Castaneda said...

I love this agreement and it really solves a lot of problems, if you need something ask for it don't expect other people to read your mind! As easy as that :-)

Paintdiva said...

This is so me! I have a really bad habit of rushing to assume things that may or may not be appropriate. I believe cultivating awareness of this habit is the best way to beat it. Of course, this means taking the time to really look at a situation, breathe and fall back to : don't take it personaly!
I love your book and thank you for the reminder to look before I jump (to a conclusion)

Ann R. said...

in the book discussion. I am enjoying the comments. I must comment that your Fall/Winter wardrobe colors are so flattering on you. Beautiful. On the topic of assumptions, when making assumptions I usually think of it in the context of social situations; however, most often, I make assumptions with those closest to me. I commented on Facebook: As a woman and mother, I think it is so easy to make assumptions because I am a planner. I tend to try to think a step ahead of my son and husband, to anticipate their needs, family activities, and plans for the day/week ahead. In the process, I make assumptions about what they want or need, which can lead to some stress and communication errors. Sometimes decisions have to be made at lightning speed which can sometimes have negative consequences. I think the closer I am to someone sometimes I think I know that person so well, I assume what s/he is going to say...there I go again assuming. I am working on it. :-)

Anne said...

I'm loving this book, so many good lessons. I am so quick to make assumptions (and take things personally!), but my dad always told me, "Don't tell yourself stories." That's stuck with me, because really, making assumptions is telling yourself (most likely fictional) stories. Why not reserve judgement until you get the truth? So many problems would be avoided that way.

I loved your book, and really enjoy reading your blog, Jennifer. Keep up the fabulous work!

Ma'mie and Lola said...

I've been a huge fan, but haven't commented before now. I am in the midst of a terribly ugly, hurtful, stressful family legal battle. Your conversations centered on the Four Agreements have helped me cope. Tomorrow we enter mediation. I intend to be impeccable in my word...to take nothing personally (so hard)...and to not make assumptions. You have been a touchstone as I ready myself for this ordeal. THANK YOU! And wish me well!

Debs said...

I love what Anne's dad said about not telling yourself stories. I may use that one.
Me - I tend to assume that people think the worst of me. However I never realised that until just now.
Good luck with the mediation Ma'mie and Lola.

missdevine said...

Loved the story. However, I anticipated that you were going to say that the woman who was the loyal reader for so many years had turned out to be the same woman as the "rude neighbor" who lived down the road. You thought she lived in the midwest but actually it turned out she lived in the next street. Wouldn't that have been quite the story?

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hello everyone, thanks for chiming in. And Ma'mie and Lola GOOD LUCK with the moderation. You can get through it!

Kitty McPritty said...

Jennifer! I've had a terrible day at work and just logged onto your blog to catch up on the book club over lunch. Thank you! This video has given me a MASSIVE reality check,. Keep up the great work :)X

ClaireOKC said...

There's an old adage that when you assume you make an AS* out of U and ME. Whenever I get ready to assume, I think of that, and think I'll pass on assuming!

Now deduction is a whole other thing!!!!

novelist said...

I am working on not accepting others' assumptions of me and not making my own wrong assumptions. A lot of family drama over the years makes this a challenge, but doable. Can really see how this agreement and not taking things personally work together.

Deborah said...

I am enjoying "The Four Agreements" series that you are bringing to your blog! I had read this book many years ago but I think that this book is a timeless one. I especially enjoy that you have decided to share a personal story as an example because it really drives the message home. I look forward to the next installment :)

Thank you, Jennifer!