When we are children we test the world to find out how it works. We learn what happens when we drop our toy. We learn how people respond when we laugh or cry. And after the same pattern has repeated a few times we jump to the conclusion that that is how it will always be.
But in a time of change, the world won’t always work the way it used to.
Jumping to conclusions, without checking the facts, is one of the eight common types of mistaken assumption we can easily make in a time of change.
Our recent politics provides a long list of examples. And the story of David and Goliath provides a familiar example of what the consequences might be.
In times of change, jumping to conclusions can significantly reduce our chances of getting the outcomes we want.
And the problem isn’t about whether we turn out to be right or wrong. The problem is that jumping to conclusions makes us lazy: it stops us doing the things we could have done to create the outcome we wanted or to prepare us better for what else might happen instead.
To avoid jumping to conclusions we need to:
- check whether we are making any of the eight potential mis-blinks
- consider what other interpretations might be possible and which are more likely
- get clearer on what outcome we want and why
- take new actions to address our upsides and our downsides
We still might end up doing the same things and the outcome might still be the same. But that doesn’t matter: doing this gets us clearer on what we really want, increases our inspiration and enthusiasm, and gives us a better chance of achieving our goals.
Have you ever jumped to a conclusion that turned out to be wrong? What were the consequences? Is it worth checking whether you are jumping to any conclusions about a project or person now?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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