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Explanations > Thinking > Accepting

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?



A simple thinking error is to accept what others say without considering the truth of what they are saying or how reasonable it is. You might also wonder why they are saying this and what they might gain from your acceptance.

If, after consideration, you are still not sure, be ready to ask for more information or to change their assertions.


A person arguing about who pays for what in a restaurant says that they 'did not have much'. Most others are ready to let him pay less until one person says 'Let's look at the bill'.

A sales person makes claims about the furniture she is selling. The buyer wonders about how ethically sourced the wood is, but feels unable to voice these concerns. 


Given the constant stream of data, we simply do not have time to think carefully about everything we hear. Yet to accept everything blindly is naive. The best compromise is to assess what is heard and select carefully for deeper thought. The key question here is what criteria to use. A typical example includes whether the speaker is trying to persuade you and the importance of the topic to you.

A common method of speakers in trying to avoid such challenge is to crowd out challenge by speaking quickly and continuously. A response to this is a strong interrupt.

So what?

A common use is to make a string of assertions and then to assumptively expect the other person to accept these. By not giving space to reply and loading one statement on top of another, the speaker tries to create overwhelm and hence gain unspoken acceptance. Even a single assumptive statement can lead to silent acceptance.

When faced with expectations that you will agree without time for discussion, interrupt and ask them to repeat one point at a time, then challenge and discuss each point that for which youare uncertain. Ensure you have time to think before agreeing (or disagreeing).

See also

Empathy, Assumption principle


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