30 Days, 30 Ways to Practice the Third Agreement

Take 30-Days to challenge yourself to practice the third agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions – you’ll be surprised how often you do!  😉

Day 1: We often make assumptions when interacting with others as to what they are thinking, feeling, wanting, etc. by what they either say or do and how they act, etc.  This can lead to unnecessary distress and suffering since we also tend to forget the second agreement while making these assumptions: Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Day 2: Lesson from a recent conversation thread:

Friend 1: Yes, buttmunch, just watch me struggle to load 55lbs of dog food into my cart and don’t offer to help.

Friend 2: Didn’t the generation (maybe 2) before you burn some bras and shit so that you could lift that bag of dog food  yourself?   BTW, even though I might let you struggle with a 55lb bag of dog food, I’d at least be holding the door open for you.

Friend 1: I’m not saying I’d accept your help. I mean I clearly did it and then loaded it into my car by myself but I think the offer should exist.

Friend 2: Sooooo…… you’re one of THOSE people. Hmmm…. and you wonder why #chilvaryisdead?

Friend 1: I wanted it then. My shirt was kinda delicate.

Me: I’m confused….if you weren’t going to accept the help, why are you upset that it wasn’t offered?? Explain lady…

Lesson:  This woman is all upset about why some guy didn’t offer to help her load dog food into her cart – help she didn’t want anyway.  What she failed to think about was, what if the guy had just recently had surgery?  Or what if had just gone through chemo?  What if he had just been in a car accident earlier that week and was still recovering from whiplash?  We don’t know why he didn’t help her, so here is a good rule to follow:

A.) ASK for help when you need it.  Do not assume people should just offer it.
B.)  ACCEPT help when it is given to you, because it shows that you have a   certain amount of grace (and class)

Day 3: I attended a rally, a couple of weeks ago, for those continuing to seek justice in the unnecessary death of Trayvon Martin.  People were encouraged to sign up to speak and had 45-seconds to say what was on their mind about the acquittal of Zimmerman.  The only rule was “no hate speech, keep it productive.”  Many of the people that spoke, you would expect to see up on stage at a rally like that – political activists, community leaders, mothers, fathers, young people about Trayvon’s age.

Then a white man, approximately in his late 40s stepped up to the microphone.  He looked like life hadn’t always been kind to him, wore slightly tattered clothes and was missing several teeth.  He wasn’t used to speaking in public and words were hard to find, but his overall sentiment was that of sadness that a young man went to the store, to get a snack, in a neighborhood he aspired to live in, and never made it home – due to senseless violence.

After listening to him, I realized that I was surprised by what he said because I had already prejudged him based on his appearance…..I had assumed (and profiled) him as a redneck bigot, when nothing was further from the truth.  I do so much work to let go of judgment and was ashamed to see that it still exists, even in my own thoughts, about people of my own race….it caused me great concern then about what judgments I still harbor towards others and how easy it is to assume we know someone simply based on how they look.

Day 4: “You should never assume. You know what happens when you assume. You make an ass out of you and me because that’s how it’s spelled.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

Day 5: Keep it Simple

Day 6: Do you ever feel rejected because of social media?  If we allow ourselves to make assumptions as to why someone is/isn’t interacting with us, it can hurt quite a bit.

“When we feel rejected because we assume someone’s inaction is sending us a clear ‘message’—we’re wrong! That person is not trying to send us a message at all. In fact, we tend to read far more into such omissions than we should….although there are a thousand ways to feel rejected on social media, nine hundred and ninety of them are probably not personal. Assuming the worst in these situations will not only cause you unnecessary hurt, it can make you reach incorrect conclusions about your friendships and assume problems exist where they do not. The most important thing to remember about social media interactions is that you lack huge amounts of information about what might be going on for the other person. So give people the benefit of the doubt, and if you’re worried about the relationship, send the person a “hello, what’s new?” text or email. Chances are their response will reassure you that all is indeed well between you.”  Read the entire article

Day 7: Many times, when we believe negative things that others say about us, two agreements are broken – “Don’t Take Anything Personally” and “Don’t Make Assumptions”.

Day 8: There have been at least 20-30 times I have rode in the car with S where he makes a left turn on red from a two-way street to a one-way street.  Every time he does this, I yell at him that it’s illegal and really needs to stop doing it.  All he ever says to me is, “Okay,” yet he keeps on doing it.  Finally, I decided I would do some research so that I could show him the law that states explicitly you cannot make a left hand turn on red from a two-way street onto a oneway street.  And you know what?!  It turns out, S is right!  While there are only a handful of states that actually allow this, Florida is one of them.  When I came to him with my admission of error, he said, “yea, I wondered how long it would take you to Google it.”

Lesson: Don’t rely on your own information as absolute and don’t assume all States laws are created equal – some are more asinine than others.

Day 9: “Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.” – Buddha

Day 10: Don’t assume the stories you tell yourself are correct. “All of the fear, the worry, the story was created by me….all of the assumptions were my own….all of the anxiety was self-inflicted.

Day 11: How many do you still hang onto?

Day 12: “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” –Henry Winkler

Day 13:  Let go of fear.

Day 14: Good advice to help break the cycle of our assumptions

Day 15: “The greatest progress in life is when you know your limitations, and then you have the courage to drop them.” –Yogi Bhajan


Day 16: Don’t expect anyone to read your mind.

Day 17: “Euclid taught me without assumptions, there is no proof.  Therefore, in any argument examine the assumptions.” –E.T. Bell

Day 18: Stop the drama.

Day 19: “Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make — bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake — if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it had floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you’d made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.” Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

Day 20: Use these Three Little Words.

Day 21:  Racial profiling is based on a list of assumptions made simply based on the color of one’s skin, the clothes that they wear, and the way that they walk.  By doing this, law enforcement officers quickly assess whether or not they believe you are a threat.  Unfortunately, this causes many people to be the target of unnecessary harassment due to false judgments.  George Zimmerman did this to Trayvon Martin and he made the gravest of errors in doing so.  Let this be the constant reminder to us all why we must never profile people simply based on how they look.<

Day 22: Another good rule to follow – drop your baggage.


Day 23: “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, and let the light in.” ― Isaac Asimov

Day 24: 

Day 25: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Day 26: Try doing once what you tell yourself you “cannot” do, and you will break that assumption too!

Day 27: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” –Henry David Thoreau  

Think about how much time and energy you waste on your assumptions.  Then decide if you have better ways to invest your time.

Day 28: Always do your own research into any thought, belief, or story (internal or external) before you blindly follow it as truth.  Often times, our thoughts are false statements driven by a negative belief that we have carried on for far too long.  Yet, under cross examination, crumbles because there is no truthful foundation for which is was built upon, just something we were “told” and therefore, thought “it must be true.”  You are scientists, studying your mind and your life, examine the data, test theories, experiment, and then draw conclusions based on evidence, NOT assumptions.

Day 29: Agreement #3 Follow Up

Day 30: Make this your new mantra!