The Power of Assumption and Choice

It all started with a simple question –

Yes or No?

That was it.

Nothing else.


And what concluded afterwards was pretty interesting.

I had an idea that I wanted to ‘test’, so I simply took action and went to the social media platform to see how other’s comments, observations, evaluations and criticisms would impact a hypothesized outcome.

I decided to pose this question for a few of reasons:

  1. To see what people’s feedback would be
  2. To see what assumptions were being made when I associated the question above with a picture (posted below)
  3. How the power of suggestion can influence our anticipated response(s) in various situations


What’s really interesting about this so-called “experiment” is that one simple question opened up the floodgates for people to chime in and throw in their .02 cents, so to say.

If we dig a little deeper, it’s intriguing how a picture can suggest a myriad of other things that many will not see as they jump to a conclusion of a supposed outcome when they see a pic of someone holding up razor, some shaving cream, while sporting a goatee.

Now mind you, I was only seeking a reaction from others solely for the purpose of fun but to also present a lesson that one should never assume anything regardless of what they see. As the saying goes – “A picture is worth a thousand words.” My guess is that’s why assumptions are many, while facts are few and open for debate. By bridging the gap between a picture and reading, we can bridge the gap while minimizing any distorted outcomes.


Research has shown that deliberate suggestion can influence how people perform on tasks such as learning, memory recall and tasks, which products they prefer, and how they respond to supplements and medicines, which accounts for the well-known placebo effect.

But what can explain the powerful and pervasive effect that suggestion has in our lives? The answer lies in our ‘response expectancies,’ or the ways in which we anticipate our responses in various situations as mentioned above. These expectancies set us up for automatic responses that actively influence how we get to the outcome we expect. Once we anticipate a specific outcome will occur, our subsequent thoughts and behaviors will actually help to bring that outcome to become reality.

However, not all things pan out as we expect them to regardless of what we’d like to happen.

In this case, I was thinking how people would associate and anticipate ‘the act of shaving’ when they saw me holding up a razor and a can of shaving cream.

What if I was looking for a higher quality razor?

How about a better brand of shaving cream?

Shaving my head would be another possibility.

Maybe I needed to be more specific as to what I was asking.

What if I wasn’t suggesting anything at all regardless of what the picture portrayed?

Maybe the real question I wanted to ask is something that that WE all have the answer to. It’s one that nobody can answer but us.

Does the feedback of others truly matter in terms of what truly makes us happy?

That’s the ultimate question we should always be asking ourselves despite what others may say or think.

As soon as I posted the ‘Yes or No’ question and pic on Facebook, I started reading all of the replies and responses. The majority of the people said “No” – that I shouldn’t shave off my goatee. I also had a few comedians in the bunch that suggested that I shave my head and eyebrows. Obviously, there were a few who favored the “baby face” clean look.

Then there were those who said that I should get my wife’s feedback and do what she says! My sister-in-law even stated that my wife’s opinion “is the only one that matters”.

Now, before I throw myself under the bus, or before my wifey tells me that I’m sleeping in the dog house next to my dog, let me say this – I love, appreciate and honor my wife more than anyone thinks. She and I even joke around about her ‘wearing the pants in the family’. But I’m being real and raw when I say that her opinion doesn’t really mean jack as to what truly matters and what’s what makes ME happy!

Are You Happy

Of course her feedback is valuable and I respect her opinion (as well as I also do of others), as she and others are entitled to it. But in the end, I am going to do what I want to do regardless!

I think that’s part of the problem when we week the approval of society to achieve happiness in our lives. We rely too heavily on what others think and what they say rather than asking ourselves what truly makes us happy.

If we look at this entire thing in the context of training and nutrition, we need to have as much specifics as possible as to what people desire, what they want, and they’re expecting. In other words, we cannot assume anything, especially in this business!

To all of my fit pro friends and colleagues out there, how many time have you heard the phrase “I want to get in shape” from a potential client? I’m sure most of you have. It’s a vague statement that needs to more clarity and we need more info if our intentions are to assist and coach them to get to their desired goals and outcomes. It all comes down to asking the right questions without persuading them in a different direction. After all, this is THEIR journey, not ours!

I also hear things such as, “I feel horrible! What can I do to change the way I feel?” Again, it’s a vague statement that leaves so many variables of possibility out in the open as to why they feel as such. Maybe they’re not sleeping well due to excess stress, not enough exercise (or lack of), poor nutrition practices and habits, health issues, the list goes on. Assumptions are many with very little facts.

I vividly remember back when I was down in San Diego for Resurrection Week when my good friend and colleague, Steve Krebs, asked me and five of my other brothers who were there one question – “Why are we here?”

Live the Code

He didn’t suggest anything, nor did he try to persuade us to think and/or believe that we were there for something else other than finding our true calling and how to level up our lives in every aspect – Body, Being, Balance, and Business. It was a situation where we all shared the same challenges and struggles but told them in a different manner during different chapters in our lives.

One particular challenge that we all encountered was the same ugly monster that WE all have in our lives. And if you say don’t encounter this daily, then you’re lying to yourself! I know because I was there and to this day, I’m constantly being tested by this thing. What I’m referring to is FEAR!

We all fear something in our lives every single day. And it’s fear that often paralyzes our ability to take the necessary action to do what is right for US! Not our family, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, friends, colleagues, none of them!

It’s about US – me and YOU!

Taking the appropriate action that fits into the equation of what fulfills you and puts a smile on your face. You don’t need the excess feedback, opinions, or permission from others to do what makes you happy!

Achieve Greatness

You just need to do as my good friend and colleague, Todd Durkin says, “Ready, Fire, Aim”! This simply means that no matter what action you take, we may not hit the target every time, but we and adjust as needed to get closer to where we want to go and what we aspire to achieve!

One of the greatest gifts that I took home from my experience was that what others thought of me or how they portrayed me to be didn’t really matter. What was of true significance was ME – what made me happy regardless of the world’s expectations.

In all, it’s safe to say that we should never assume anything!

And lastly, we can respect other people’s feedback and opinions as I stated earlier. But in the end, all that matters is what YOU do. And does it make you happy?

Only you know the answer!

~ Coach AR


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