There was a poll awhile ago on a writers’ site asking authors to share how long it typically takes them to write their articles. As I looked through the posted replies I was quite surprised at the average length it actually takes people to complete something that they are comfortable publishing.

Why this information caught me so off guard was because of the assumptions I had held about myself: I had assumed that I wasn’t a ‘natural writer’, and for that reason it naturally took me a lot longer than most other people. But it turns out that I was wrong.

I was also surprised that, after all the self-studying and growth I’ve done over the years, I was still harbouring unchallenged assumptions about myself and my abilities – comparing myself negatively to others without an ounce of data to back up my beliefs. After all, as a coach and psychologist, it’s my job to help others to see where they may be limiting themselves, and where they may be holding unfounded beliefs about themselves and others: to shed light on these areas and make the conscious decision to assess things more accurately. But apparently I don’t always do this with myself.

I’m aware that this example of me writing articles is rather trivial – but it begs a bigger question: where else am I unfairly limiting myself?

So now I’m reflecting on what other inaccurate assumptions I may be holding about myself. And I’m grateful for the reminder that we’re all a work in progress and that we needn’t become complacent about this.

What assumptions are you holding onto about yourself and your abilities? Think about this carefully, and then ask yourself how you really know whether these assumptions are accurate. The next time you find yourself saying, “that’s just the way I am” – or the next time you start to downplay your skills and abilities in comparison to others – it might be helpful to stop and ask yourself whether that’s truly the case. How do you know?

If you find that it’s not that easy to really know, you could at least examine the logic behind the belief: “Isn’t it true that if my assumption is based on incomplete or missing data, then the opposite assumption is just as plausible?”

This type of self-reflection works on two levels: First, it helps to boost our self-confidence as we realize that there’s no good reason to subordinate our own abilities, experience, and knowledge to that of others. Secondly, and just as importantly, it helps to keep us humble: assuming that we’re spotless may actually be preventing us from learning and understanding some critical pieces of insight and information.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Hammer, Ph.D. is a certified professional coach and licensed psychologist. He offers leadership and life coaching services, as well as various self-development tools for people who are passionate about reaching higher levels of success and becoming the best they can be.

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