People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant. ~ Helen Keller
It’s not uncommon for us to jump to conclusions when we get a small piece of information or we see just a few moments in time. Can you indeed read minds or see the future? It says a lot about us, in which conclusion we reach? A positive end or reasoning to what we’ve just seen or heard or a catastrophe about to happen.
Jumping to conclusions leads to our unhappiness 2 ways.
First we decide that we know what will happen, so an assumption is made. Since we’ve already reached a conclusion, there’s no need to pay attention to any of the detail with what is really going on. So we act on the basis of our assumption.
Second we imagine that we are capable of mind reading. We know why other people do what they do, or what they think… This, one of our 22 habits of unhappy people destroys relationships like nothing else and really clouds our minds. Most of the time our conclusions are exaggerated and sometimes they are plain wrong because they are influenced by our mood and they would be 100% completely different if we were in a different state of mind in that moment.
Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” is all about the importance of jumping to conclusions…
Essentially, it’s very useful for us to be able to make snap judgements in a rapidly changing and potentially dangerous world: we don’t want to have to cogitate for hours about whether that movement is a tiger or not; we want to spot it and jump straight away. That same ability can be useful in other situations: spotting fake artwork, spotting people lying, selling cars, whatever. Gladwell goes through lots of examples of how and why this ability is a good thing, and how and when we should trust it. Because he also carefully explains why it doesn’t always work: again, it’s safer to jump out of the way of non-existent tigers than to be too blasé about real ones. So we rely on stereotypes; when those stereotypes don’t mesh with reality, we can go badly wrong. But there is hope: we can learn to resist thoughtless behaviours based on incorrect stereotypes, and we can learn to tune our systems for better stereotypes.
What Mr. Gladwell’s book also tells you, which is almost an oxymoron when it comes to jumping to conclusions, is how to get more information in a “blink” to make the right conclusion.
My husband has a saying ~ “Everything’s all right until you hear differently”. What that means to me is; jumping to conclusions about why he forgot to take out the trash this morning or what his motives were behind not wanting to go on vacation this year maybe something completely different than what I have conjured up in my mind. Trying to assign intent, when you’re not privy to details can be terribly defeating.
Whether it’s a jump, a leap or even a step into a conclusion, if it’s the wrong one, it’s probably not the end result that brings you the happiest of feelings.
What’s a conclusion you jumped to and found you had it all wrong?
Barbara, I have been doing that a lot lately, jumping to conclusions, and I am driving myself crazy…… generally a very patient person, I find it has made me more stressed out… I am breathing deep, and working on getting back to my ‘live in the moment’ motto….
Daphne – It’s so true isn’t it…”live the moment” – projecting negative thoughts that might not happen force us to “live” through whatever happens 2 and 3 times as long. I might add one addendum to your “live the moment” motto….that is trust that I will be able to handle anything that comes my way…and not until then. Thanks for reading – this series we’re doing has been so enlightening!
I need to repeat – and repeat – your husband’s wise saying. It’s perfect for someone like me who likes to do what I call “writing the script.” Another way to say I am guilty of jumping to the proverbial conclusions…
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Oh, Sheryl! I like the term “writing the script”… it’s so much better than my “imaginary conversations with people that will never happen”.
Oh my goodness – so many times I can’t name them. It is so foolish and rarely spot on – so I try not to engage as a mind reader these days. I love your husband’s adage. So much so, I wrote it down to pin by my writing desk.
I love it! I won’t tell him…I need to keep him humble!
Oddly enough, the person with whom I most often jump to conclusions is my twin sis. And she does the same with me. You’d think twin telepathy would help, but we possess no such thing.
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That’s really interesting…I really would have though twin telepathy would prevent those jumps!
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