Jumping to conclusions in a time of change

As children we learn to predict the way the world will work. We learn what is likely to happen if we drop our toy. We learn how people will respond if we cry or smile. And after the same pattern has repeated a few times we jump to the conclusion that this is what will always happen.

Doing this makes our lives easier. It helps us to get the results we want. But in a time of change, the world doesn’t always work the way it used to.

Jumping to conclusions is one of the eight common types of mistaken assumptions we can easily make during times of change. The Brexit referendum and various elections provide clear examples.

In a time of change, the world does not work the way it used to. Jumping to any kind of conclusion is likely to reduce our likelihood of getting the results we want.

The problem is not necessarily whether our assumption then turns out to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. (After all, this might not be decided until the very last moment.) The problem is that jumping to conclusions makes us lazy. It stops us from taking actions we might have taken that could have brought us the result we wanted.

What we need to do instead is check for whether we might be making any of the eight mistaken blink-of-an-eye decisions (or ‘mis-blinks’). Then pause, consider what other interpretations might also be possible, assess which options are more/less likely, get clear on what outcome we want and why, and then assign resources and actions appropriately.

We might end up taking the same actions. And the outcome might still be the same. But following this approach helps us to get clearer on what we really want and then brings us the best chance of achieving that. And when everything is changing it becomes unhelpful to jump to conclusions about how anything is going to turn out.

Have you ever jumped to a conclusion that turned out to be incorrect? Do you take more care over this nowadays?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building emotional engagement and inspiration during times of change. Buy the Book

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Photo By Robbie Biller via StockPholio.net

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