On questioning assumptions

If you're like me, chances are you have your fair share of underlying assumptions, many of which you are not consciously aware.

Very often, the thing that causes us to make the most progress (and conversely, that can cause us the most challenges), is uprooting our own assumptions.

It can benefit us to at times be ruthless in assessing our own preconceived notions and ideas.  To do this we can ask ourselves or those who agree with us questions such as:
  • What do you mean when you say, 'x'?
  • How can we know 'y' for certain?
  • What if I'm / you're / we're wrong?
  • What's the worst that could happen?
  • Why should I trust you / this belief?
  • How do you know you're right?
  • What evidence do we have for this position?
Sometimes we will get answers to these questions, other times we need to maintain the humility to say that we don't know.

Whilst questioning is important, we shouldn't become so caught up in obtaining the answers that they hinder our decision making.  This could lead to regret as much as not making a decision until we have 100% of the answers.

Do you assess your own assumptions?  If so, what questions do you ask in the process of assessing them?