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Author and chief editor of the effizine, online magazine for busy professionals desperate for getting things done efficiently

Power of assumptions

Never assume anything is not actually as smart as you might have thought… Asked yourself if you knew if major you’ve chosen at university is what you want to specialise? Did you know it back then or did you merely made an educated guess? How many times you’ve taken a job knowing it’s right for you or did you just hope it will? In fact I’d risk saying that everyday life brings just by far too many choices for us to check every one of them. Like it or not, knowingly or otherwise we’re forced to go by a gut feeling. We rely on previous experience, collective wisdom (e.g. reputation) to influence our choices, but essentially we just assume. Having to analyse each choice would paralyse our life. Choice is always a mix of knowing and assuming and in fact you can see that as analysys paralysys creeps onto some people in mild, however sometimes effective and sometimes completely inefficient way.

I commute off 16 platform London Bridge. At about 18:30 the main hall is super crowded. People glare awaiting platform annoucements. Very quickly I realised that most of the platforms are annouced max 5 mins ahead of trains departure. I’ve also worked out Summer and Winter timetables and stopped awaiting platform annoucements. Apart of timetable switchover I choose to go directly to the platform I think is most likely to be the correct for my train. It’s usually the same one as last week. You might argue there’ some stats involved, but in fact I assume I’m going to the correct one. There are apps for that but no way of knowing at the correct time. Commuters have worked their ways but know it’s a gamble and that’s the single reason they chose to stare at flipping timetables in the main hall. I’m right at least 95% of times and that’s enough for me to be sitting on 95% of journeys. Remaining five percent I probably I’m forced to rush even more to catch the train from the correct platform and in such case I don’t even hope to get a handrail to cling on to. I still win with the crowd in vast majority of cases, even though once a year loose a chance to secure my place on a train altogether. The power of assumption, automating my choices in this case makes my daily commute much more comfortable.

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