Once of the first mistakes you can make in 2019 is to assume anything; unfortunately, we are all guilty of doing so.
And it makes us overlook people far too often. We cross the street when someone potentially dangerous walks our way, we think we know gender when we see it, and if someone looks like you can’t depend on them, maybe you’re right.
But maybe you aren’t.
Because stereotypes and assumptions only help us see what we think we know. It doesn’t mean it’s actually true.
I am a woman.
And also black.
And a liberal arts major.
So I guess there are plenty of assumptions probably made about me. Some people tend to ask if I’m good at basketball or because I’m tall, I might be in modeling. If someone sees me walking with my twin on campus, they will probably assume we’re dating.
But none of those are true.
I mention this, not because these assumptions bother me because that last one definitely does, but because people things like this cause us to overlook people.
Just because I’m an English major doesn’t mean I can’t crush a Cal 2 final. Because I did. Just because I’m almost notoriously single in all my friend groups, that doesn’t mean I know nothing about relationships–trust me, you learn a lot on the sidelines. And just because I can be a sometimes detrimentally nice person, trust that I know when people are underestimating or taking advantage of me.
Ignorance isn’t always bliss.
One person with all the right merits in all the right places on a beautiful resume may be completely unqualified for the job. Instead, the single mom going back to school or the kid who never graduated high school may be just what a company is looking for. If we keep making assumptions for what we think is best for us rather than what we know will be beneficial, we may actually sabotage our own success in the process.
We end up getting in our own way.
I know that this week, I did.
When we look at schools and jobs and cities, we take a list of criteria and compare what each of those things have to offer us versus what we want. The thing is, if you know me then you know that I love my lists. That’s how I chose Cal Poly or how I figure out what tasks to do first every day.
And every time I’ve overlooked something. On paper, the school looked great and well, crossing things off on a to-do list feels pretty great. It just doesn’t account for the people, environments, or even what the commute might look like.
Like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.
The cover might tell you a few lies if you do.
You never know what something might be like until you try it. I used to have a friend that I are afraid to ask to brunch because they intimidated me—turns out it was just their face. I chose a self-publisher based on their name and the company they were attached to while a little more research would have been smart. And a summer in SLO with new friends and the beach sounded pretty great, until I ended up spending more time with dogs than actual human beings and as much fun as that can be, it’s not quite the ideal. Plus, of course, I missed my parents.
Fact is not quite fact until you know it for sure and until you do, don’t pigeonhole your options. Maybe things aren’t quite what they seem or someone isn’t who you think they are.
We don’t always know what we think we know and I guess I’m starting to understand that. Even moreso, I’m trying to apply it to my life. Who knows, maybe it’ll turn out to be one of my best learning curves yet.