Most of the assumptions we make as humans are unspoken. They’re often heuristics for getting things done faster that necessarily shortcut the time and labor intensive process of verification. So we accept our assumptions as facts and our brains are happy to leave them there.
This usually works fine. As Daniel Kahneman famously observed in Thinking Fast and Slow, heuristics (and the assumptions therein) are an important part of the brain’s ability to move quickly and efficiently. But this is also how you can get stuck on a hamster wheel. If your faulty assumption leads to an unwanted outcome, then you’re going to stay there until you deal with that faulty assumption.
Want a better chance of getting the results you seek? It is in your best interest to be intentional about exposing and testing the assumptions you make. And then course-correcting based on what you learn.
The Assumption Hacking ABC’s is my 5-step framework for doing just that.
The ABC's of Assumption Hacking
Settle into the Assumption Hacker’s Mindset. Set your intentions to crack the code and unlock the critical assumptions that are hidden behind that powerful firewall known as your brain. Stay tuned in with this mindset throughout the process.
Expose the complete thought and the core assumption being made. Make them crystal clear.
Rather than trying to build your case for being right, see if you can prove the core assumption you’ve made about the situation wrong.
Make adjustments to what you’ll do based on what you’ve learned.
When there is a results gap, revisit your hypothesis and go through the ABC’s one more time.
By going through the ABC’s of Assumption Hacking, even if it takes a few rotations, you will eventually get off of that hamster wheel. It can be uncomfortable and it’s a lot of work, but it sure beats spending one’s life spinning in place.
‘Til next week,