It’s funny how often we fail to practice fact finding when the stakes are high or our emotions are in overdrive. Instead we believe the fiction we tell ourselves about the facts. And, the more we go down the slippery slope of telling ourselves stories the more our emotions heighten.
I can not tell you how many times I’ve burned myself by letting fiction get the best of me. I was listening to an audio the other day and Carnegie said most of man’s worry and stress are because man doesn’t take enough time to do the proper fact finding.
I agree with him when we believe our own press releases all sorts of worry and stress are the by-product. We can take a simple fact and blow it completely out of proportion which is a complete misuse of our imagination. I know there is nothing more embarrassing to me than revving myself up with some convincing fiction to later discover that I was completely wrong.
It’s too bad that we don’t approach situations with the attitude innocent until proven guilty. Instead we allow our fears to create some of the most ridiculous stories about the facts. In the Crucial Confrontation/Conversation training they call it mastering your stories. Tony Robbins refer to it as mastering meanings. And, Mindy Audlin calls it mastering your mental monsters.
Nevertheless it is agreed in order to be successful in life we must learn to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives. And, I believe one surefire way of doing that is learning to squash interpreting facts by going to the automatic negative and telling ourselves some pretty horrific stories about ourselves or others.
Just take a day and observe and listen to yourself and others. You will be amazed at just how much we tell stories about one simple fact. Fact finding is the best automatic default to have not jumping to conclusion. Here’s an example, let’s say a lady has a boyfriend and they break up. Then they get back together and she goes over to his house for the first time since the breakup.
Let’s say she sees that he has an additional toothbrush on the bathroom counter and he has an additional wash cloth and towel in his bath. Do you think she will automatically do the fact finding or jump to conclusions and react as a result? Yes, you’re right more than likely she will jump to conclusion, call the score, and land him a pretty angry reaction.
It’s amazing how we react when we tell ourselves stories, sometimes nightmares, about a situation. And, how we respond when we engage in the proper fact finding. I remember I told my calculus teacher in college that I assumed he meant something in class. And, his response was let’s look at the word assume….it means making an ass out of you and me.
He was right too. Whenever we choose to assume we risk making an ass out of ourselves and the other person. It really is a better choice to master our mental monsters rather than jumping to conclusions and creating a problem that wasn’t there or making a problem that is there much larger. When in doubt I’m learning it really is better to ask and not assume.