Anticipation and Assumptions

We’re often told not to assume things.  In life, we can never perfectly predict what’s coming.  We’re going to run into the unexpected.  We’re going to run into things which challenge our assumptions.  It is going to happen.  In fact, you can assume that if you make a lot of assumptions, that some times you’re going to be wrong.

That’s fine!

You cannot really go through life without making assumptions.  When you make a decision, you have to operate from some assumptions.  It really is OK.  It’s OK to make assumptions, right or wrong.

Since you have to make assumptions in order to make decisions, the question becomes “What assumptions are you making?”  Do your assumptions serve you?  Do your assumptions take you towards your goals?  Are they helping to improve your life?  Or are they, perhaps, holding you back?

An important thing to understand with assumptions is that the subconscious, the emotional parts of the self, will create a sense of anticipation based on the assumptions you hold.  Anticipation is powerful.  One thing that is very common in people undergoing chemotherapy is anticipatory nausea.  In a nutshell, since people experience nausea when they receive chemo, they start to anticipate it.  They imagine it happening before it happens.  And, often, they create those feelings of nausea before their chemotherapy has begun.

In fact, for a small number of people, they are so afraid of that nausea, they expect it so much, they imagine it so vividly, that they create anticipatory nausea before they even have their first chemotherapy treatment.  Isn’t that something?  Human beings have the ability to physically make themselves feel ill by imagining it, even when they haven’t yet experienced it.

Now, it’s important that we understand that these people are not consciously visualizing.  Conscious visualization is a bit overrated.  Not everyone imagines things the same way.  Maybe they get flashes consciously; but, it’s simply the state of being afraid, thinking about it, imagining it and anticipating it that creates the result.  And, of course, anticipatory nausea becomes even more common the longer someone goes through chemotherapy, the more they learn to expect and anticpate nausea.

So, how can we use this knowledge to better our lives?  How can we apply it in a way to enhance our self improvement practice?

I’m sure you’ve heard of affirmations.  Consider that the use of affirmations is designed to create a sense of anticipation.  They are designed to shift our assumptions.

There is a way to make affirmations even more effective though.  It’s not just a question of saying that something is happening.  There are better ways.

I suggest you try asking yourself loaded questions and then taking the time to answer them to the best of your ability.  It’s really pondering an outcome as if it’s inevitable that creates the emotional (subconscious) response that you’re after.  It doesn’t matter if you believe.  You don’t need to have faith.  You can just pretend for a little while.  Pretend that your desired outcome is inevitable.  Assume that it’s inevitable, if only for a little bit.  Ask yourself questions based on that assumption.

What will it be like when X happens?  How good will it feel? (Why not assume that it’ll feel good?)  How will your life be different when X happens?  Keep asking yourself questions and answering them until you feel a sense of excitement building.

Don’t worry about honesty here, this is imagination.  This is about playing pretend.  This is an exercise to release previous assumptions that haven’t served you well and create new ones.  It’s going to feel a little bit dishonest and that’s fine.  Don’t let that feeling lie to you.  Just because something has happened before, does not mean it will happen again.

Since assumptions can be proven wrong either way, why not anticipate something wonderful instead?  Why not see for yourself how anticipating something different, how operating from a different set of assumptions can change your life for the better?

Let’s use sleeping deeply as an example.

What will it be like when you fall deeply asleep tonight?  How well are you going to rest this evening?  How good will you feel when you wake up?  How surprised will you be when you sleep deeply, a little or a lot?  How much more energy will you have tomorrow after having a great nights sleep?  How much will you be able to accomplish?  What things will you be able to get done since you were able to sleep so deeply?  How much happier will you feel as a result of having a good nights rest?  How amazed will you feel when this works and you sleep deeply tonight?

And, if you want the best results here, don’t just ask the questions.  Answer them!  To answer the questions is to accept the implicit assumptions, if only for a moment.  And, the more you accept those assumptions and answer the questions, the more those assumptions go into the subconscious to create a sense of anticipation.  Keep asking yourself these loaded questions until you have the feeling that it is happening.  That feeling is that sense of anticipation.  That feeling is what creates self fulfilling prophecies in your life.  The goal here is to bring that feeling up over and over until it becomes habitual.

So, if you want to create a self fulfilling prophecy that you’re going to sleep deeply, every night for a month ask yourself questions (and answer them!) about how well you’re going to sleep and how much better you’ll feel as a result.  Assume that you’re going to sleep deeply and then ask yourself questions about how much better your life is now that you’re sleeping deeply.  The more of these questions you answer built on more positive, more useful assumptions, the greater that sense of anticipation will be.  Let yourself fall asleep thinking about how wonderful the nights sleep is going to be.

How else can you use this?  Countless ways!  Why not assume that you’re going to eat healthy the next day?  That you’re getting your exercise?  That you’re getting done some project that you’ve been putting off?

I recommend that you do no more than two or three things a night, you don’t want to overload yourself and force too much change to quickly; but, over time, you can retrain yourself to automatically look for success.  You can train yourself to habitually expect yourself to get done things that are important to you; and, when you expect yourself to succeed, when you anticipate that success, when you imagine it, you’re that much more likely to create it.
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Thank you for reading!
-Adam Coles-
Heart Song Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis, Meditation and Life Coaching
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