“Some people take no mental exercise apart from jumping to conclusions”
Through this quirky yet intelligent quote, Harold Acton gave a perfect representation of how people sometimes make judgments without having all the facts. They make decisions without enough information, and more than often, they experience terrible consequences.
Why do people jump to conclusions?
If you have ever experienced a social interaction where someone jumped to a conclusion regarding you or a story you were telling, you surely know how uncomfortable it feels.
Of course, sometimes they may do it because they are strongly prejudiced about certain aspects. Other times, they may make a quick judgment based on previous similar experiences with people or events.
However, you should know that more than often they do not jump to conclusions out of spite or ill intentions, but because they have a psychological communication obstacle.
When you put it in this light, you realize that you are not dealing with a foe, but with a friend that has problems distinguishing between first-hand observation and assumption.
How to deal with people who jump to conclusions
To better understand what to do in an event where people jump to conclusions, we will take a hypothetical situation.
Let’s say you have a co-worker that has a problem with anxiety and low self-esteem. You are assigned to work together on a project, but he has doubts that it will be a success. In fact, his insecurity makes him procrastinate and be unproductive.
Your co-worker’s fear of failure is just as hypothetical as this example. His negative emotions are not based on something factual. They are make-believe.
He was assigned a task, and due to anxiety and low self-esteem, he immediately saw it as a future failure before even seeing what it is all about. He may even say things like “It will be a disaster because I am not good at it,” or “I know I will fail, I know that I will disappoint you and I might lose my job.”
This kind of anticipated labeling is inefficient and extremely harmful in the long run.
What you should do when you notice this kind of behavior is to try and show that person another viewing angle. From a different perspective, they should realize that their assumptions are not based on facts and that they mistake first-hand observation for healthy intuition.
Is it all just a misunderstanding?
If one of your friends, family or co-workers often engages in jumping to conclusions, you should work extensively to change their mindset into a more positive outlook on things. Regular practice should help them overcome their bad habit of jumping to conclusions.
Additionally, you may encounter this behavior in people who label you for your race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, and religion. While this kind of treatment is completely unfair and uncalled for, you should always try to give them the benefit of doubt.
Many people suffer from this psychological condition of jumping to conclusions. Remember that they unknowingly struggle with a communication obstacle. By treating them with kindness and understanding you could turn them around and even help them nurture a healthier mindset.