ASK Don't Assume: A Peace Tool for Business and Life!
One simple, yet profound book that holds wisdom that I love is Don Miguel Ruiz’s “the Four Agreements”. I heard him speak live when I lived in Arizona about 14 years ago and I was struck by the peace in his eyes! I have gifted that book to many people since and said it was a life changer. I’ve heard it said that as we become more “enlightened” our lives become more simplistic, versus complex. I am ready for that! As a business owner and in the waters of my own personal life which sometimes seem chaotic who couldn’t use more peace. Practicing the Four Agreements helps. We can still do great things, living simply, and even easier when our thinking is guided by clarity versus chaos. Applying the Four Agreements has made my life more simple over the years. I’ve got a long way to go until “enlightenment”, but I’m having more enlightened moments and much more peace.
My business has gotten busier this month, yet my personal life has had some rough waters lately, so I’ve decided to apply the Four Agreements to it all. If you don’t know the agreements, they are: 1) Always do your best 2) Use your word in the direction of Love and Truth (Always tell the truth) 3) Never take anything Personally 4) Don’t Make Assumptions
Since my first exposure to the Four Agreements over 15 years ago, I’ve tried my best to apply it in all areas of live. The biggest area of learning for me comes from “Don’t Make Assumptions”. I have to admit, I come from a long line of speculators! My family gatherings sometimes involve deep conversations about people we know, what they are doing and it’s bound to bring up some speculations from several family members. All the hypothesizing now seems so exhausting! After reading the book, I’ve wanted to say (and I have) things like: “don’t assume, why are you guessing all this, if you’re so concerned why not ask the person themselves?!?” It would save time, mental energies could be used for creating versus speculating, and no drama is made. Living and then acting from assumptions is bound to create drama, I’ve seen time and time again in my own life. I’m much better at now asking questions when something comes up where I don’t understand a person’s words, actions or inactions. Asking questions and not making assumptions kills the drama we often make in our own minds. We then can make informed decisions based on the responses we get. That lends to a peaceful life, and I’m all about that.
I discovered that one of my patients was imagining pain when she was moving a certain area. We had been working together for a while, so that came as a bit of a shock. But again, one has to go from not making assumptions. Because my work is in the wellness arena, and people come to me to feel better and improve their function and pleasure with moving and doing what they love, I assumed that my clients would be imagining feeling good. I often say to them “go smaller and smaller until you don’t feel any increase in pain”. They know to be working in a range that doesn’t push into more pain, yet, it’s understandable that if they’ve had pain for so long that they can imagine the pain because of the familiarity of it. So, most of what I do is “movement” based, but thoughts are part of one of the things we are always doing. That means thoughts also must be included in our exploration of wellness and it does have an impact! Now I will be asking “notice what your thoughts are as you move this area of your body”, especially if they’ve had a history of pain.
We can’t assume our thoughts will instantly shift over to healthy ones. Nor our habits of not making assumptions if we’ve been used to having them. We have to create a new habit and it first comes through awareness. We have to be willing to look inward and inquire. Just as in life, when there is a lack of clarity: ask versus assume! Ask yourself what would your life be like if you had no pain when you moved your neck? Ask yourself what your life would be like if your relationships were more peaceful? Ask yourself what would the impact be of asking a question instead of putting words into another’s mouth about what they meant by “x,y,z”. Simple yet profound and peaceful results can happen versus frustrations and ruffled feathers with the mental drama and assumptions. You can start creating and inquiring as you move from auto-pilot to the awakened present.
I reconnected with one of my mentors this week, and she reminded me that” I get to decide how it goes”! Just because the first 6 months of an ad did not do well, does not mean the next 6 will have the same result. Wow…that’s the same as assuming…me thinking the ad might not do well like the first 6. I have other strategies that I can and will implement to connect to more spheres of people I can help. But why assume the ad is going to be bad? Why not assume the ad is going to be great?! My mentor reminded me that the shoppers at the grocery store have already seen the old ad and that doesn’t mean it’s been a failure. When they see the new ad, it may catch their attention in a different way and possibly bring up seeing the old ad. Who knows! It may have just planted the seed in their mind about a movement specialist who can help them! Now the new ad could be just what has them call me! I love the new ad as it shows activities being done for the “joy of what you love”! Why wouldn’t it work?! Now I’m visualizing people shopping, seeing the ad, taking a picture of it and calling me to set up appointments to get them back on top of their sport or hobby! The mind can be a brilliant thing and I’m re-energized. I’m so grateful that the past few weeks brought up situations where others were assuming things about me, so that I got to brush the dust off my awareness of the four agreements, in particular with “don’t make assumptions”. What if I imagine that those situations could be returned to peaceful exchanges of communication where both parties ask questions and no one takes offense (another agreement) nor assumes anything! It’s all possible. What a breath of fresh air.
I’m grateful also for the reminder that I get to decide and create how something goes…and it starts with not assuming myself and instead visualizing and asking questions. I get to decide and visualize and ask the questions that will have me create the best rest of my year in each and every area of my life! I get to be aware and dare to ask versus assume when I catch an assumption popping up! I can stop my thoughts if I'm imagining pain or drama in a situation and I can choose to think (and act) differently for a different outcome! How awesome is that?!
Where can you apply these techniques and the “not making assumptions” agreement to your life for greater peace, more joy, and more of what you desire? Have fun. Be aware of assumptions and when you are thinking thoughts that take you away from where you desire to move. Then you get to re-focus. Don’t assume, ask a question. Then ask yourself where you want to move and think the thoughts that support that!