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Avoid Assuming
Written Sunday 01/23/05 by Joseph Rossini

Included in this week and next week's lessons, we will be discussing two common strategies to use throughout life in order to avoid more daily disappointments than are necessary. Disappointments as you well realize, are inevitable every day of the week. It’s impossible to live a disappointment free life. However if you make it a practice to “Avoid Assuming Anything” whenever possible, and “Never Take Anything For Granted,” you will decrease the number of disappointments and stress occurring events.

I believe we all have a human tendency of assuming too much about life. We assume that individuals will come through on their promises without having to follow-up on them. Yet our assumptions have less than a 50% chance of being right. We assume that individuals will react in certain ways because we trust them and their judgment – only to be proven wrong time and again. We just down right assume too much, too often!

In past lessons, I have written about the need to trust others. If we couldn’t trust anyone in this world, we would all be in a sad state of affairs throughout our life. But with trust, there also needs to be accountability and follow-up to make sure things happen as planned and actually will get done. Below we will discuss some lessons I have learned throughout my life.

Since we don’t all have the greatest memories to rely on, we need to have tools ranging from a pen and notepad to a sophisticated software program to follow-up on our promises and responsibilities. I believe that the more disciplined you are about planning, executing and following-up on your responsibilities, the better your life will be. As an individual who takes great pride on coming through on my promises, I take every precaution possible to make sure that those I have to deal with – come through on their promises. In other words, I do not assume that they will. By doing so, I do not avoid disappointments completely. However, I do cut back on them more than the person with no system of follow-up.

As a business owner, I always kept neat, organized files on EVERY contract I entered into regardless if they were with employees, customers, vendors, banks or contractors. The ability to put my hands on old contracts or written agreements in minutes made or saved my company as much as a hundred thousand dollars in one single incident. Had I ASSUMED that every person or entity was going to live up to their word, my company would have been less successful and I certainly would have been more frustrated and disappointed than necessary.

Even beyond written contracts and agreements, I also kept detailed notes of all verbal promises and always held individuals accountable for dates and times of completion. Over the past 15 years, there were ample, inexpensive contact manager software programs (similar to ACT or OUTLOOK today) to set alarms and keep track of all the details necessary to avoid assuming anything. It’s just as easy to stay organized as it is to be disorganized. However, the rewards of disciplined organization can create more wealth, better health and a greater peace of mind. Also, once you develop a reputation for being organized and a follow-up type of individual, others somehow seem to come through more often on their promises. They know that you will be following up on them if they don’t come through. This helps eliminate even more disappointments. But again, does not eliminate them completely.

Once you learn about, and personally experience the rewards of follow-up, your life will become more organized and your daily disappointments will diminish. You will still experience disappointments with casual, one time interactions. However, your interactions in longer term relationships seem to get better with time.

Over the years, I have known lots of individuals who have had one catastrophe after another happen to them. They always seem to be in some type of jam and they begin to believe that they have been stricken by some negative voodoo. If you talk to them long enough to evaluate why their lives are filled with mishaps, you may learn that they leave just about everything in life to chance. They just assume too much! While doing so, their odds are like playing blackjack in a casino. They almost always walk away a loser.

Life’s interactions do not have to be this way. You have a choice to be more organized and assume less, to insure that you don’t end up like the individual who always leaves the casino without their chips. You need to calculate risks quickly in all interactions and take every precaution necessary to avoid being disappointed by making false assumptions.

In next week’s lesson, we will discuss strategy two in this series, of “Never Taking Anything For Granted.” We will discuss why you should always value relationships and all the simple things about your life. Don’t ever lose anything of value by taking them for granted. If you enjoyed this week’s lesson, stay tuned for next week’s. It will be just as insightful.

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