ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE | DAN CASETTA
The Four Agreements is one of the most impactful books ever written. The agreements themselves are deceptively simple, yet incredibly profound. This short solo episode shares some quick thoughts on one of the 4 agreements, which is “Don’t Make Assumptions.” Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. If you’re excited about making this transformation, listen on…
The book “The Four Agreements” is one that I have identified as one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read. The agreements themselves are deceptively simple, yet incredibly profound. I’ve already had one solo podcast where I unpack these principles in Episode # 205.
Today I wanted to share some quick thoughts regarding one of the 4 agreements, which is “Don’t Make Assumptions.” Here’s what the author Don Miguel Ruiz writes as a description of this point.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
I think about the words he uses there … misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. I want to give a few examples of how we all frequently make assumptions that lead to greater misunderstandings or drama.
Q: “What was the name of that one guy … ?”
A: “Oh, he doesn’t live here anymore.”
This seems innocuous enough, and it probably is, but it’s indicative of someone listening with the intent to respond instead of the intent to understand. It’s taking an extra leap in reading meaning that isn’t there, and it can lead to far greater misunderstandings or drama.
I’ve done this one a bunch of times …
Q: “Do you happen to know where my keys might be?”
A: “I didn’t touch your keys.”
See I’m just creating drama here.
We need to learn to take what is said at face value, to say what we mean and to mean what we say.
ONE MORE EXAMPLE … Out to eat …
Q: “How long do you think we should expect to wait?”
Person becomes visibly irritated with the question.
When you make assumptions, you are placing your interpretation of a speaker’s words above the actual words themselves. Of course, you may be correct — even quite often — but it’s just so much easier to clarify instead of assume.
Above example: “It might be about 25-30 minutes … is that OK?”
So it’s important to ask questions to clarify.
It’s also vitally important to avoid assuming that others can tell how YOU feel. How often do we create drama in our lives because we DON’T simply communicate how we feel?
Example – Story of Dominic at the tire swing
– Asked me to use the tire swing, other boy quickly ran over there.
– I encouraged him to ask for a turn.
– He couldn’t expect the other boy to simply know, but if he asked, I expected the response would likely be positive.
– Ultimately, my daughter asked, and the boy quickly ran off.
So part of not making assumptions is clearly communicating what we want.
Communicate clearly, without ego, and without too much emotion.
When emotion comes into play, attempts to communicate are often viewed as a form of judgment or rejection, or worse as an attack.
And taking communication AT FACE VALUE trains everyone around you to be crystal clear, to say what they mean and mean what they say.
In doing this, we are training others and ourselves on the art of clear communication.
Related point …
Never assume bad intentions when someone does or says something that bothers you.
— Bump into someone coming out of a stadium
— Car cuts you off
— Someone is thinking about themself and not about you.
Now the 4 agreements build on each other.
– Be Impeccable WIth Your Word – doing what you say you’ll do builds trust and credibility.
– Don’t Take Things Personally – opens the doors for clear communication in both directions
– And 4th, Always Do Your Best – is a mentality that leads to such a strong desire for growth and excellence that it cycles back around.
They all tie together.
Catch yourself in the moments when you are making an assumption.
Maybe even ask others to help you notice, and you can help them.
Maybe the word “assumption” could be a trigger word to remind you both to take time to clarify. Or create a code word if that’s better.
Messiah University: We mean no offense and we take no offense with each other.
What a great way to operate with a growth mindset and an openness to feedback and collaborative learning.
Check out Episode #205 for more on The Four Agreements.
As always, if you enjoyed this episode today, I’d like to hear from you about it.
Also, if you’ve ever gotten any value from this podcast, take a moment RIGHT NOW to give us a review on Apple Podcasts.
And share this publicly and privately with people in your life.
I hope this was helpful.
I wish you all success and fulfillment!
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