Assumptions Need to be Challenged – It Will Help You Make Better Decisions

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Assumptions Need to be Challenged – It Will Help You Make Better Decisions

Assumptions are the beliefs we carry in our heads – drawn from experiences of events or thoughts in our past. Each assumption comes loaded with risk because the present isn’t the past.

We assume what happened before will happen again.

Sometimes chance favours our assumption, and we get away with it. Where we come unstuck is, we don’t see it as ‘getting away with it’, we see it as good judgement, good luck, or simply great skill on our side.

Our confidence rises as we begin to believe we know better, as we puff our chests out and flex our shoulders. Of course, self-belief compounds the situation as we do not see the confirmation bias blinding our systems of judgement.

We can do no wrong.

And then, one of our assumptions fail. The chances are the failure occurred when we applied an assumption to a big decision. One where we need the outcome to go in our favour, but it doesn’t. We will bemoan luck or the unexpected as the reason, as we do not grasp the consequences of accepting an assumption.

Ray Dalio, in his book, Principles, uses one simple challenging question to every decision he faces. What do we know to be true?  

Assumptions aren’t facts. They are beliefs born from a moment when the facts aligned with the circumstances of the situation. Circumstance changes, life changes, luck changes – everything changes – which is why we must challenge our assumptions. We should always ask the same question Ray Dalio does.

Then we might be safe from our assumptions.


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