One of my first memories of wisdom, an eternal truth that run true and would be useful over time, came from my high school debate teacher, Terry Rose.
“Never Assume anything.” Terry said, “It makes and “ass” out of “u” and “me”.”
The poetic ring to the quip helped it stick all these years.
Oxford dictionary says “suppose to be the case, without proof.” It is that lack of proof, the presumption of correctness that is checked when you pause the “assume”.
Assumptions are those things that I take for granted. Things I assume. Now many times I may believe there is ample proof or I have received ample proof in the past, so these assumptions are usually not totally without proof. In fact I couldn’t go through a day without assumptions about all sorts of things like behavior of other drivers on the road, the path of the sun, available credit on my credit card, the tire pressure on my truck, the charge level in my motorcycle battery, endless.
I have found Terry’s shocking quip useful over the years for two reasons.
- I remember it whenever I am around “assume” or an “assumption”. His voice in my head.
- It causes me to pause and make sure I am not making an ‘ass” out of “u” and “me”. Just a slight pause, to question the assumptions. To check the assumptions. Make sure they apply. Make sure no one is going to be an “ass”.
Most of the time, this pause results in a little more exploration of the issue and a clearer decision being made. Just a moment is all it takes.
Take the moment. Don’t let assumptions make and “ass” out of “u” and “me”.