Assuming things is a sign of laziness, being casual, not checking to ensure that things work out well, can cause inordinate unhappiness. Check, check, check. Have you ever taken a new friend to a restaurant that turned out to be closed for renovations? Don’t assume you can find a place to stay when you arrive in a strange town. How do you know for certain that the ice on the lake is strong enough to skate on?
Assuming you have the answers can be self-defeating. Ask carefully the necessary questions. Be a free spirit, but be diligent so you can enjoy your freedom without avoidable mishaps. Seek and find out what is true and accurate. We all make mild assumptions every day. We assume there is enough oil and gas in the car, a container of milk in the refrigerator, an extra cartridge for the fax machine, or enough AA batteries for the Walkman. We assume that everyone has been notified about the conference call. We assume that all participants have been sent the agenda for the meeting. We assume our spouse has the tickets, the cash, and the passports. Ask. Check. Have a list so you’ll remember to bring whatever you need to wherever you are going.
Human beings, in trying to accomplish something, should not assume that things have been done in advance. Assume that something hasn’t been done until you know it has been completed to your satisfaction. When we delegate work to others, we should still spot-check, because we are personally responsible. We shouldn’t pass the blame on to others. Especially when things are outside your responsibility, avoid disasters by reconfirming dates, times, places. Be sure you have enough cash for contingencies. Think through the consequences, and plan accordingly. It’s true: success is yours; failure is an orphan.
Making a habit of assuming leads to carelessness and a lack of effectiveness. Instead, anticipate and focus. The more you care, the less you’ll take for granted.
A Small Book About the Big Issues in Life – Alexandra Stoddard