ASSUMPTION is the cause of much NEGATIVITY.

Following is an example of negative emotions PROMPTED BY AN ASSUMPTION.

Suppose your supervisor asks you to stop in the office before leaving for the day. When I recently mentioned this scenario at a presentation, I heard a great groan. Then I made the point: You assumed that the conversation would be negative. You didn’t know that; you just assumed it.

This negative assumption may be natural, but it’s not inevitable. You have a choice regarding your self-talk. You don’t have to ASSUME the situation would have been a negative one. Just hold it in abeyance by redirecting your thoughts. Why prompt negative feeling when it is not necessary? As I clearly demonstrate in my presentations, what we think prompts how we feel.

ASSUMPTION can be the cause of many BOTCHED SITUATIONS.

I was not able to connect to the Internet. I contacted my Internet service provider (ISP). Rather than speaking to someone in technical support, I found myself speaking to someone in the accounts payable department. It appears as if I had not paid my bill. But the telephones were still working! I was advised that the Internet service is stopped first before the telephones are disconnected because there is no charge for re-establishing an Internet connection whereas if the telephones were to be disconnected, there would be a reconnection charge.

I couldn’t believe it! The one time in my entire life that I received a bill of non-payment and did not follow up on it! You guessed it; this was it. I had received a non-payment bill from the telephone company and ASSUMED that, since my bills are automatically charged to my credit card, there was a mistake on the part of the phone company. BAD ASSUMPTION!

The root of the problem was that the telephone company had an old credit card on file carrying a June expiration date. This was August. Somehow the telephone company had not been notified of my newer credit card expiration date. I was assured that the system would be up again within three hours.

Four hours passed. My Internet connection still was not working. Did I ASSUME it would be repaired in due course? Nope! I called; somehow the order had not gone through. The company reinstated the service while I waited on the phone.

But the saga continued. I received e-mail from Jacksonville, Mississippi where I was scheduled to give a keynote presentation. The communication stated that the party attempted to call me but that my telephone was not in working order. I responded by sending the party three phone numbers that could be used to contact me.

The next morning I tried to make a phone call, but the telephone land line was not working. I called the telephone company using my mobile phone. My original conversation about paying the bill and requesting the reinstatement of all telephone lines could not be honored. But I was not so informed. (Due to additional services on other lines, the phone company sends me two bills). I ASSUMED that both bills were paid. I was politely informed that, since I receive two different bills, it was necessary to contact the accounts payable department and pay each bill SEPARATELY—which I did instantaneously.


Last month at an inservice to 110 teachers, the principal who introduced me gave me a beautiful opening. As she started to introduce me, she suddenly stopped, went to the trash barrel, spit out her gum, and reminded teachers to have students spit out their gum as they enter classrooms.

So, one of my opening statements was that ASSUMPTION CAN BE THE CAUSE OF MISSED OPPORTUNITIES. Example: We ASSUME that students know how to spit out their gum WITHOUT OUR FIRST TEACHING A PROCEDURE OF HOW TO DO IT. I suggested that teachers consider having some scrap paper by the waste paper basket to make it easier for students to do what teachers want them to do—AFTER DEMONSTRATING HOW STUDENTS SHOULD DISPOSE OF THEIR CHEWING GUM.

So many problems occur BETWEEN PEOPLE in professional AND in personal RELATIONSHIPS due to INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS, e.g., “I thought (read: ASSUMED) that you . . . .”

As has been so eloquently stated, “Assumption is the mother of screw-ups.” (Read: negativity, botched situations, missed opportunities, and poor relationships.)

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