Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Never Assume

I have often made the mistake of assuming. Life has taught me my assumptions are often flawed. I hope I am getting better as I get older.

This was brought into my mind at Church last Sunday when the Minister was asking us not to be judgmental about people who are less fortunate than us – for example homeless people and those sleeping rough. In fact the Minister used a wonderful expression;

‘Whether a man sleeps on a pavement or in a palace they are both sons of God and equal in his eyes.’

Assumptions and judgments were best brought home to me many years ago when a friend told me this true story.

A man in his early thirties was on a train journey with two young children of about 5 and 6 years of age who were running around. They were out of control; they were loud; and generally making a nuisance of themselves, much to the annoyance of the other passengers. There was a tense atmosphere but no one said anything until one man got so angry that he felt he just had to say something to the man who seemd to be oblivious to what was going on and 'miles away' mentally. He told the man he was not a responsible parent; he told him that he should control the children; they were very annoying and making the journey a misery for everyone. It was very inconsiderate not to control them.

The man looked at the person and apologised with tears in his eyes saying "Yes you are quite right I am so sorry – it is just that we are traveling back home from the funeral of my wife – their mother, and I guess they are finding it all very difficult at the moment.”

Ouch!!! - Like all of us - the person who complained wished a hole would appear so that he could just fall in!

Never assume – it will make an ASS out of U and ME


Sriram said...


You are right. I always say "Assumption is the MOTHER of all f**kups" and its so true...the more complacent u get (by assuming incorrectly), the more trouble is in store for u.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Sriram - hope you are well.

I have become more and more disillusioned about how so many people seem to just ignore e-mails I send. They do not even have the decency to reply. I have discovered that to ASSUME you will receive a reply is a false hope. It feels to me like I have to 'chase' almost every e-mail I send these days - am I the only one who feels that?

shinsato said...

Hi Trevor, great story. I think I remember seeing that in Steven Covey's 7 Habits.

It does seem that email etiquette hasn't yet really developed very well. In fact, phone etiquette isn't great either right now, probably because the value of manners have been lost for various reasons. But I definitely share an irritation around unreturned emails (and phone calls).

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Harold – hope you are well.

I have decided to write an article or even a chapter for a new book about this new phenomenon of ‘bad manners’

It frustrates me no end that people do not have the decency to reply – not even a simple one liner to say they have received the e mail! – Surely that is not asking too much?

online pharmacy said...

funny thing, because this is almost y life motto, you know... almost every fight with my girlfriend is because an assumption, and I always end up saying he same thing: DO NOT ASSUME!

Tiffiny said...

This is awesome!