If we are serious about personal and professional growth, we must be willing to challenge our presuppositions – our convenient beliefs. That is uncomfortable.
My former mentor, Buford Makenzie, used to say,
I wonder sometimes if fatalism serves as a convenient excuse for avoiding the distasteful medicine of reality. When something about our businesses or our personal life isn’t going as we want, perhaps we have unmet goals, or we are getting more “nos” than “yesses” (or no response at all), is it possible that we default to a convenient excuse that it wasn’t meant to be.
Presuppositions, are like tools, they aren’t good or bad inherently, they either serve us well when properly used or get in the way when improperly used. Consider the definition of the word.
“a thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action”
Making tacit assumptions allows us to take shortcuts and save time. We are doing this regarding other people, social situations, and ourselves constantly. It flows out of our subconscious which is processing 4,000,000,000 bits of data every second.
For example, when we first learn to drive a car, everything is new. We have to work very hard with our conscious mind engaged to develop the skills necessary to drive the car without much conscious effort. Soon, and for the rest of our driving days, we do the majority of our driving based on our presuppositions. I turn the key it will start. I apply a certain amount of pressure to the brake and stop just behind the car ahead of me.
Driving using tactical assumptions is a much better tool on interstate highways where there are long stretches of sameness than it is in the city limits. I can make a few assumptions as I drive through town to take the boys to school each day. Like, leaving the house at 7:00am means much less traffic than leaving the house at 7:15am. But even when traffic is light, I am using presupposition much less often than when we drive from South Carolina to Arkansas to visit the boys’ grandmother. However, driving 100% unconsciously on highways causes plenty of missed turns and many accidents. In fact, road engineers purposefully place curves in long straightaways even when it is not dictated by the terrain. They do this to interrupt the sameness that hypnotizes drivers into purely unconscious driving.
It is nice to get into comfortable grooves in our personal and professional lives. It is not a bad thing to have steady cash flow, enjoy good health, and happy relationships. But we mustn’t mistake the straightaways of life for enlightenment or entitlement.
On the other hand, we must not mistake unmet goals for inevitable predetermined events. Writing off the lack of success as fate or God’s will may just be a convenient way to avoid uncomfortable truths.
Carl Jung said,
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”
Discomfort is the best arena for growth. But whether we find ourselves on uncomfortable curves or comfortable straightaways in our personal and professional lives, we must be careful that our convenient beliefs don’t pronounce the verdict before all the evidence is in. Keep digging there is more to discover.
“Further up and further in!”