Jumping to Conclusions – A Habit You May Like to Change One Day
When you communicate, do people feel uncomfortable?
When you are surrounded by a lot of people, do you start feeling uneasy?
Do you believe that if something cannot lead you to a binary answer of true and false, it is useless?
If the answer to the above questions is ‘Yes’ then you might be suffering from what is called an ‘Interface-observation Confusion’ or ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ bias, often abbreviated as JTC.
It’s a form of cognitive distortion and leads you to make a negative assumption which has no grounds in facts.
Here’s an example:
When an otherwise smart person avoids putting her feet forward while being challenged, it may suggest that the smart person was not competent.
It may also suggest other things such as her embarrassment at her integrity being questioned, or she may want to keep calm and let her actions speak instead of arguing on the matter.
If the smart person shows other signs of discomfort, such as choosing not to speak much and focusing on her work on hand instead, one is still making an assumption when they link these assumptions to non-competence.
These examples are of Jumping to Conclusions and may harm if pursued further without the first identifying the facts to back it up.
When you hire someone with 10 years of experience and assume that he knows exactly what you knew when you had 10 years of experience, it’s one more example of Jumping to Conclusion.
No two persons are the same. Their upbringing, environment that they grew in, their challenges and their successes – everything would be different. So actions based on Jumping to Conclusions may affect adversely if the decisions are taken based on such hypothetical conclusions.
Don’t get me wrong, we all jump to conclusions by making interfaces and assumptions. That is part of the game. The problem is people who jump on the conclusions have to be aware of what they are doing. If they don’t then they consider assumptions as facts and shape their further actions on the basis of that.
Does it sound like you?
Worry not, the following three skills can help:
- Deep understanding of the context: When you understand the context, you establish a boundary within which you will assume. Smaller the boundary, nearer are you to the facts. Being near to the facts is not the perfect solution but at least it has more potential to get away with Jumping to Conclusions.
- Sharp observation: You have understood the context, now you leverage your observation skills. When you leverage your observation skills, essentially you take data from other contexts and use it to your benefit. It is needless to say that an observer is wiser than an un-observer. Though wisdom reaches its potential only when powered by actions.
- Deliberate actions to unearth the facts: You know the context, have sharp observation skills but they are of no use if you don’t put those skills into deliberate actions that unearth the facts. Once you unearth the facts, your conclusions would be based on concrete information, not just perceptions.
Good news is this that these skills can be learned by anyone regardless of what their past is.
Several years back, I had a habit to jump on the conclusions. I used to predict what other people might speak. I achieved several successes (and some failures too) because of that trait.
Some friends used to think that I’m smarter amongst them. But when someone senior, whom I respect a lot, drew my attention towards my that pattern and its potential drawbacks, I reflected on it, thought to change it deliberately and eventually learned to at least think twice before jumping to quick conclusions.
That realization changed how I speak, how I write, how I code, how I drive… my default lens to look at the things changed and my life too … for good! 🙂
Sure, that reduced my speed to decision making but the outcomes are worth the cost.
There is nothing in this world that cannot be changed for good. Jumping to Conclusions habit can also be changed if you are determined and willing to challenge yourself.
Have you ever encountered that pattern in your behavior? Do you think you should change it for good? If yes, then what are you waiting for?