A Journey to Assumption

Seth Godin reminded us of the importance of understanding.  He exposed our fundamental desire to rely on assumptions.  Our need to establish certainty overrides exploration of the unknown.

If we have never been to Paris, do we assume we have seen the City of Lights once we land at Charles de Gualle Airport?  Can we check Paris off our travel bucket list after a stroll down the Champs Elysees?  Is a day in the Louvre Museum sufficient?  A meal at a cafe?  Batobus ride on the Seine? Visit to the La Tour Eiffel?  

The answer is unique to each of us.  We have our own parameters.  A visitor with a single day in Paris may feel equally certain about their view as an expat who has lived on the Left Bank for months.  Understanding comes in connecting our points of reference to build a more detailed narrative.  Assumptions are easy.  Adventures provide pathway to test our assumptions.

Hit By It

A couple years ago, I played golf with my father-in-law.  The twosome behind us were constantly waiting on us but we were keeping pace with the group ahead so there was not real opportunity to let them play thru.  On the 18th hole we parked the golf cart in the fairway as we looked for an errant drives.  Walking back into the fairway, the gentleman’s tee ball landed a few feet from us.  We raised our clubs and shout “just wait a second.”  The woman jumped into their golf cart and raced up the fairway.  My father-in-law and I were perplexed at this response to our our shouts of dissatisfaction   The woman arrived in tears.  She explained that her husband has early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms and had teed-off on his own recognizance   Immediately, we felt terrible.  We had assumed their constant shadowing was poor etiquette when in reality it was the wife’s best effort to chaperon for her ailing husband.  Upon reflection we noted that his execution was flawless on the golf course.  Where his mental faculties had begun to fail, his physical skills were superb.  

What assumptions do we make that have been false?  What do they cost us?