In my last post I asked what critical life assumptions might be holding you back. A critical life assumption is how you see the world and your place in it. You make decisions based on these assumptions—often without being aware that you hold them.
That’s why it’s important to identify the assumptions that are unhealthy; those that keep you from achieving your full potential. But once you’ve discovered an unhealthy critical life assumption, how do you change it?
These four steps can help you identify and revise your critical life assumptions:
- Write them down. Just as an astute business leader seeking to gain clarity about a pending decision will write down their assumptions, so too, you can gain clarity about the decisions you face when you write down your critical life assumptions. Taking the time to reflect and write your assumptions often reveals faulty assumptions you may not have known you had. Often, just the process of putting it down in writing can diminish the power an unhealthy assumption has over you. But here’s the catch. Unhealthy assumptions, in particular, can be hard to unearth. That’s when talking it out with someone you trust can bring the awareness you need to finally capture it in writing.
- Write a more healthy alternative. For example, one of the unhealthy critical life assumptions I discovered is that I must make important decisions alone. But a better alternative—a more truthful alternative—is that I have a powerful and wise network of supporters that only need me to seek their advice. That new assumption is more empowering and reduces the stress I feel about important life decisions I face.
- Act on the new assumption. Acting on the new assumption in a tangible way anchors the truth of it and makes it more likely to drive healthier decisions. For instance, in my example above, I can anchor that new assumption by calling one or two people in my network to expressly seek their advice about a decision I need to make. My choice to act on the new assumption weakens the foothold that the earlier, unhealthy critical life assumption has on me.
- Revise and revisit the list. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to write down all your critical life assumptions in one sitting. In fact, they are most often discovered when we are in the throws of a decision or when we’re discouraged and engaging in a lot of negative self-talk. That’s why I recommend keeping a list of your critical life assumptions and adding to it as you discover more. Reviewing the list, particularly when you’re discouraged, can help you pinpoint faulty assumptions.
Here’s the irony of this exercise… Making the decision to compile your critical life decisions is itself based upon a critical life assumption. Do you believe that you’re free from the influence of hidden faulty assumptions? Or, do you believe that you are vulnerable to them? How you answer that question will determine what steps you take next. As Jim Rohn once said, “It’s easy to do. And it’s easy not to.”
Comment below: What critical life assumptions do you need to rewrite in your own life?