4 Questions To Challenge Dream Assumptions

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We’ve all heard the phrase,

“Don’t assume, because you will make an ass- (out of) —u- (and) —me.” Right?

So why do we make assumptions in the first place?

Some practical assumptions are really necessary.

A world where you had to evaluate and prove every thing every day would be impossible!  With clients, I make educated guesses about business results because we need to plan for the future.

“We will assume 4th quarter revenues will look a lot like last quarter so let’s make a few changes to your indirect costs.”

But many assumptions can be sneaky.

Assumptions are either only partially true or completely un-true.  You may make assumptive statements every day without even realizing it.

“I’ve known him since childhood, and there is no way in hell he’ll agree to do this.”

And what about assumptions when it comes to our dreams?

Assumptions create limitations and can be a major deterrent in goal setting and personal development. They can mislead you, cloud your judgment and try to seduce you to give up on your dreams when the challenges get really hard.

For me, I find Passion Catalyst Curt Rosengren a great resource for inspirational solutions.

Curt has created an effective short list of questions to challenge your potential assumptions.

These 4 questions that challenge dream assumptions–

1. Ask yourself, Why do I think that?

Sometimes the key to blasting past your assumptions is understanding where they come from in the first place. If you can see that your assumption is either no longer relevant or only offers a partial picture of reality, it is easier to let that assumption go.

2. Ask yourself, Is that really true?

How often do we treat assumptions as cast-in-stone reality? Questioning the basic validity of an assumption encourages us to dig for the truth.  When we pause for a second and reflect on the question, the evidence may be closer to the surface than we think.

3. Ask yourself, Can I prove it?

When you examine them critically, assumptions often don’t stand up to the test of reality. If you have a dream of starting a business, you may find lots of reasons why your goals may be challenging, but it will be a lot harder to find proof that makes something you want impossible.

4. Ask yourself, How can I get to a place of possibility?

Assumptions are only true when we look at them from a static perspective.  For instance, you could say “I want to start a business but I don’t have the money to do it” — and that may be true now.

But life isn’t static. Dreams aren’t static, either.

So instead of looking at the current bank statement and quitting – take a deep breath – and ask yourself questions like  “How can I get access to the money I need to start a business?  Can I save it up? Find a partner? Take out a loan?  I wonder what else I can find out.”

Find that place where possibilities live within you, and stay there for a while.

OK, now it’s your turn to test assumptions that may be getting in the way of your own dream progress.  Use this simple sentence formula  from Curt:

I want to [your goal/dream], but [your assumption].

Here’s mine:  I want to live the life of a professional photographer, but I’m not sure I am technically skilled enough yet to do that yet.

What’s yours?

Until next photo,


Remy’s dream is creating opportunities for photography showings and public displays of her work.

  • Pingback: What Makes A Photographer A Top Photographer? « 8 Women Dream()

  • Michael Lloyd

    This is very timely for me, since I’ve spent the last 6 weeks or so intensely questioning a lot of my own beliefs (the word I use in place of assumptions) related to work, relationships, and my place in the world. So many of my assumptions are rooted in the past and the belief that everything will continue to turn out like it did in the past. Just last night, I made that connection, realizing that when I am stuck in old thinking and feeling patterns it means I am reliving the past and no longer present with what is in front of me right now. My intention is to use this awareness as a tool to break out of old patterns whenever the old familiar sadness, fear, and hurt comes up.

    The four questions are very helpful, and I’ve been engaged in using some form of them. But even in the way you present it – “The four questions . . . are simple, yes, but cruelly effective.” “Cruelly” is an assumption!

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Remy G

      I’m glad it was timely for you Michael. Cruelly is yes, my word. I assumed maybe it would be too, for those who got slapped in the face with them as I did! Thanks for the comment! lol
      Lemme know what happens with all of the outcomes of your questioning ok? xox Rem

  • Rod

    I enjoyed that Remy. Is it possible to have too many dreams/goals that you have a hard time focusing? I wrote my question before I read the above comments. Now I’m wondering if that is a negative thought. I think I need to go back and read The Law of Attraction and refocus myself. Thanks for an interesting thought provoking piece.

    • Remy G

      thanks for your comments Rod – yeah, I think we could all have too many goals/dreams that makes it tough to focus. There are some great multi taskers and some of us who are one linerally one step at a time. I have to remember that overwhelm is a created state – its not a thing. So I’m in control of that by how and what i choose. I also know that if my goals are thin, not really thought out, or if I’m simply not excited about it, it may cause me to not focus on them….Clarity of what you want and what your next steps are will be key to your success.

      Thanks again for all your support to 8wd Rod! xox Rem

  • Toni Schram

    I want to get my screenplay produced but there hasn’t been any interest from Hollywood. I
    assumed because we were first-time screenwriters, we must not know what we were doing.
    On further reflection, I knew we had a good story.

    My mentor, Anne Jordan, told me it was a good story but we needed to change the age of the some of the characters (for the 18-24 year old demographic we should be shooting for) and add a love interest to the protagonist.

    I need to learn to have more confidence in what my gut is telling me.


    • Remy G

      Toni, you strike me as a very intuitive person – you have gut feelings about alot of things, and I bet most of the time you are right on target. So why not give yourself the same benefit – I know for me, my first gut instinct or reaction is usually the best one, even if its hard, painful, or frustrating to follow through on. I notice that if I don’t go with my gut, i tend to always regret it later. If you ever need an objective voice or someone to bounce stuff off of, just gimme a call. sometimes just hearing yourself talk it thru is enough support for your instincts. xox Rem

  • Rayne

    assumptions, negative thoughts… all this stuff floating around to slow us down! Your post is a great reminder to question our thoughts – especially when those thoughts arrive sounding like my mother on boxed wine.

  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    This reminds me of something Dr Wayne Dyer says when looking at our negative self talk. To argue with ourselves the opposite and see how we feel. For example. let’s say we say something to ourselves like, “I am terrible at making pasta. It always comes out bad.” Is that true? Could you argue the opposite? Could you also say, “I am not that bad at making pasta and sometimes it turns out fine”? It forces you to look at what you are thinking.

    There is also another way of looking at this that I just learned about recently. Often, a negative thought or assumption can be how we handle anxiety. Through the negative thought we mentally work out all the “worst case scenarios” in our head which make us well prepared when handling a stressful task.

    So I might think I am terrible at making pasta, then go through in my head all the ways of preventing bad pasta – like using less water, making it ahead of time so I am not rushed, and working over all the worse possible scenarios, so that when I make pasta the next time I am more aware, thus eventually making really great pasta.

    It can be a way people manage anxiety – to picture the worst – work through in their head what they will do, thus making them feel better prepared – and if by god the worst possible thing happens, they know immediately what to do.

    This has me completely re-thinking so-called “negative thoughts” and assumptions. You may want to look at them as coping mechanisms for handling stressful situations where in the end you will be a great success in spite of them.


    • Remy G

      So well said. Such a fine line sometimes, cause negative assumptions and negative thoughts can look very similar. Its possible that negative assumptions are based on nothing, and the negative thoughts can be based on past experience. Some assumptions are good, (not negative) but still un-founded.

      How great will it be when we can rely on positive thoughts to be our coping mechanisms!

      thanks for your thoughts and support