We all have long held assumptions.
In my case, from when I was a child, I was told that I must have a fast metabolism. I think it is common to tell folks who remains thin while having a good appetite that that must be the reason. And, I never questioned it.
Over time, it morphed into a fact in my mind. It was no longer just an assumption. This is classic availability bias – you hear it so many times that you start believing it is the true.
A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to take a test to figure out my resting metabolism rate (or RMR). And, my report after the test told me that I was on the lower end of average for my comparison group. Not just average. Below average.
That test reinforced a bunch of powerful lessons. First, it reminded me of the dangers of confusing long held assumptions and facts. Second, testing this long held assumption with a $50 investment was particularly useful. It will help me manage my diet and my weight over time so much better. So, do test your long held assumptions when possible.
Finally, it also beautifully illustrated a fact that we all probably know somewhere deep inside. When it comes to burning calories, exercise isn’t anywhere as effective as leading an active, healthy life. While exercise helps us build muscle and improve our ability to burn calories and be active, there is no substitute to activity through the day. Small decisions like standing during meetings, taking the stairs, walking more often make a bigger difference over the long run than exercise.
Seek out those long held assumptions. They make up our default setting.