“Have you seen that pink elephant in the sky?”, looks like a silly question of a daydreamer.
“There are no pink elephants. Moreover, elephants don’t fly. Leave alone they would be high up in the sky!” … the logical reaction of a rational mind. However, exactly this type of fast reaction is short-sighted. It is jumping to conclusions, which actually IS a most idiotic thing to do.
My innocent example of the elephant illustrates where communication often goes wrong in professional and personal relationships alike. That is a pity, because it is easy to avoid… if only we would not assume and never stop questioning.
1. Don’t assume
It is very easy to make assumptions. The only thing you need is incomplete information and a lack of genuine interest.
What happens when you make assumptions? You completely rely on your own knowledge and interpretations, which are based on your own past experiences or stories you have heard from others. You make connections that may not even exist. You jump to conclusions. Hasty conclusions are often wrong.
Instead of assuming, try to understand the facts.
If you hear a story that sounds strange, instead of assuming and making strong judgments, ask questions. Asking questions never hurts, it is synonymous with showing genuine interest in the people you meet and the conversations you are having.
2. Keep on questioning
There usually is a lot more to the story you hear than what you already know or what you thought you knew. Therefore, question everything before making decisions or judgments. Without asking the right questions, chances are very high you totally misjudge the situation.
Instead of jumping to conclusions, question the situation.
* The pink elephant symbolises “Delirium tremens”, a strong blond Belgian beer.
From the moment it becomes second nature to QUESTION things, you will find it much easier to communicate effectively. It will help you understand others much better and create a stronger bond with those you really care about. It will make you happier and it will give a boost to your imagination and creativity.
By the way, pink elephants do exist… I even met one sitting on a barrel in the streets of Lisbon, Portugal, a few months ago. And the one high up in the sky in Ghent, I saw that one too, it was sitting on a hot air balloon. Can you imagine?