Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How Valid Are Your Assumptions?

You don't know what's in the package until you open it.  Unknown

As we move into each new year, new situations appear in our lives. And as we encounter each one, we sometimes make a quick judgment and assume it's not what we want, so we discard it without looking past appearances. It's like allowing the wrapping on a package to affect our attitude about the contents, and then not bothering to take a second look to see what's really inside. It might be wise to give it some time and look again.

Many years ago, I searched for a job in my field, but the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting--definitely not what I had in mind. But I took the job intending to continue looking until I found what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was  in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my assumptions and left for something else.

I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.  Abraham Lincoln

Putting too much faith in our assumptions also happens when we encounter new people in our life. Many first impressions are not at all what's inside the person we're judging. While working in the jail, I noticed that one of the officers was always uncooperative and rude to the mental health team, and at first, I assumed that's the kind of person he was. But after a while I suspected he felt that his authority was threatened by our presence there. So I talked to him about my suspicions and assured him we respected his authority and would never overstep our boundaries. During the following years, we functioned well together as a team with no animosity between us. Had I not gone past my assumptions, I may have had to leave the job I loved. 

As this year unfolds, we have new opportunities to create more of what we want in our lives. And the way in which we meet each new encounter will determine the kind of year we create. Look past the wrapping, and take time to see what's in the package before you decide what to do with it.

What are you looking at now that may hold a blessing for you?

I wish you exciting discoveries.


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