“What if this wasn’t true?”
In the midst of a project, this can be one of the most powerful ques-
tions you ask. Often, we overlook key assumptions because we are so deep into the work that we can’t see outside the grooves. That’s when we begin to make key assumptions that limit how we think about ideas and possibilities. We miss obvious patterns that others, with less experience, might be more apt to see.
A way to avoid this trap is to routinely challenge assumptions, even if they’re likely to prove true. It can seem inefficient in the moment to do so, which is why many won’t do it, but when you stumble on a false assumption that’s been blinding you, it’s like discovering a diamond mine in your own backyard.
Consider a key problem you’re working on at the moment but are still looking for a needed breakthrough. Now, as you think about the problem, consider any assumptions you are making about how to solve it. (There are many, for sure.) Are there certain methods that you keep going back to, wells of inspiration that are running a little dry, or rules that you are operating under that may no longer be relevant?
Once you’ve identified one or more, ask, “What if this wasn’t true?” You will be surprised at the ideas that arise.
Don’t allow assumptions to limit where you look for ideas. Challenge them.
What assumption will you challenge today?