It happens to the best of us. This story is told by a friend. He was driving at what was considered an acceptable speed on the highway. Out of the blue, a car behind him horned. And horned repeatedly. From his rear view mirror, he saw a young man. When he drove a little faster, the horning car came into view. A red hot Ferrari! The horning made him anxious, as if pursued. He was also feeling a growing agitation, which, to his surprise, was turning into anger. In no time, his inflamed emotions grew into a rage.
This story thankfully did not end in a way we think it could. The red Ferrari would overtake him. He would take down the car number. Then the real story emerged. This young man was rushing to the hospital. His mother was in the same Ferrari. She had a seizure and had extreme difficulty breathing. My friend had a knowing look. Red Ferrari. Speeding. Horning. We just assume. From what we have read, heard and even seen. Just that sometimes, just sometimes, the real story is different.
I have similar encounters. Cars that are arrogant, dismissive of everyone on the road. I would feel irritated and depending on the extent of such arrogance, a varying degree of anger. When the car was near enough, sometimes I would see a reckless driver. But sometimes, I would see a timid driver, or an old man, or even an apologetic face gesturing that he was sorry. My negative emotions would disappear as soon as they appear. These are classic case studies of how our minds are wired. How we jump to conclusions. And how most times, not sometimes, we can be very wrong.
Our minds tell us stories. These stories are past imbedded experiences that influence our thoughts and hence our actions. They are very powerful because our reactions will in turn decide outcomes. Therefore our assumptions can pre-determined the direction of our lives. It is not an overstatement that assumptions are a dangerous thing. There is a saying, ‘Don’t build roadblocks out of assumptions’. The next time we look into a rear view mirror, take a second look. We may want to see anew. Because every situation is new in every sense of the word…
‘Our assumptions are our windows on the world. Scrub them clean so that light can come in.’