I’ve been thinking lately, which could be considered a dangerous thing in and of itself. Nonetheless, I’ve been contemplating assumptions that people like you and me make. We make assumptions all the time, and I suppose some of those assumptions are harmless enough. But sometimes our assumptions can become dangerous, leading us down paths that we would otherwise avoid. For example, many people and orgnanizations assume tomorrow will be like today.
A friend of mine once told me the story of a competition designed for meteorologists that was held at Purdue University. The plan was to crown the most accurate weather prognosticator in the nation. Over a long period of time, weather guys and gals were to submit their forecasts and at the end a winner would be crowned. As the story goes, the first winner was not a weather person, but an engineering student who used a simple formula: tomorrow’s weather will be the same as today’s.
This assumption deals with time and our expectations of time. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is based on hours and days. If you don’t believe me, look at your Daytimer or whatever time management tool you maintain. Those neat little lines on the page don’t reveal the amount of change that is really taking place. Think of a person who loses a bunch of weight. If that person lives in your house, you may not notice the change. It’s gradual, almost undetectable. Now think about that class reunion or the company picnic. You see those people once a year. If over the course of the year a person has lost a bunch of weight, you immediately notice.
We are often blind to the gradual changes that are under our noses. Some of those may be changes for the better, while others present threats and challenges that will catch us off guard if we are not anticipating them. Before you know it, those days pile up and we wake up one day and wipe the sleep from our eyes and wonder, “What just happened?”