Presumption, we’re all guilty of it. The guy or girl in traffic who snakes from lane to lane; ‘Where do they think they’re going? I’m not letting them in front of me, what an idiot’. So I was that ‘idiot’ this morning. I came off a busy motor way to a location I wasn’t familiar with – yes, there was a bit of lane hopping going on but I wasn’t sure which lane was the correct lane for me. Next thing I knew there was a very angry man who was one step short of a heart attack shouting profanities at me combined with distasteful hand gestures! Give me a break, I’m not familiar with the lanes, besides its rush hour traffic and it’s not like I’m dangerously swerving from lane to lane at high speed!

Why do we automatically presume the lane hopper is being disrespectful when scenarios like this occur? Why do we presume the guy driving in the bus lane is cheating to get home in time for the game? Why don’t we ever presume he’s rushing home to a sick child or that he’s rushing to a hospital to spend the last few hours of his dad’s life holding his hand? We really are a society of arrogant clowns sometimes, me included.

There’s also the personal presumption button in our brains that presumes we cannot do certain things that is required of us. I think this button doubles as a fear button too. My own personal presumption/fear is public speaking. ‘I can’t do it and I won’t’. How do I know I can’t do it if I haven’t even tried – presumption? ‘I won’t do it’ – fear? Thankfully by joining Toastmasters I’m overcoming this fear. My presumption to public speaking has changed to ‘I can’ and my fear has changed to ‘I will’. It’s such a liberating feeling.

The same could be said about learning self-defence; ‘I’ll know what to do if I’m attacked’ – presumption? ‘It’ll never happen to me’ – fear. If you ever find yourself the victim of an attack, what you think you will do, will be very different to what you will actually do! Having undertaken countless self-defence lessons, I’m still scared at the thought of ever having to defend myself if pounced upon. Do I presume the attacker has a sinister motive therefore strike first? Do I presume the attacker just wants my material belongings then he/she will be on their merry way? Presumption is a real mind boggler; perhaps it’s just a more modern word for intuition! But then again, that’s just an assumption!

Dolly Carroll