Psychologists dub the tendency to presume that others react to the world in the exact same way we do as “projection.” For example, an entrepreneur is reluctant to schmooze and unwilling to discuss his company in social settings for fear of annoying potential customers and investors.
According to Christopher R. Edgar, projecting can hold you back. Check out his article called “Are Your ‘Projections’ Limiting Your Success?” to learn more. The next time you find yourself doubting or fearing a nerve-racking situation, don’t assume everyone else feels the same way. Bikshu Sangharakshita, author of Essence of Zen, offers advice on how to transcend potentially limiting projections:
“Try to discover what it is you most dislike in others, what you most often criticize and condemn them for. A little elementary self-analysis may reveal that those qualities are hidden in the depths of your own mind and that in criticizing others in this way you are, in fact, unconsciously criticizing yourself.”
Assuming that other people will react negatively to some behavior because that’s the way you feel can limit you. What’s trickier is the assumption that if you like the behavior, others will like it too. This isn’t true either.