Mars is blue. Who knew?

Well probably all the world’s scientists. And maybe a few million people interested in stargazing. But OK, not me.

So the latest amazing pictures from NASA’s probe of a blue sunset on Mars was a bolt out of the …… no, can’t bring myself to make such a cheap joke…

What occurred to me when I saw this picture was how our assumptions and preconceptions can so easily be challenged by a bit of data, a touch of fact and even a pinch of evidence. In our working life, we sometimes fall back onto our preconceived ideas and norms, often by default and often without even noticing. In my work, I’ve come across many examples of decisions about the future being made on the basis of past circumstances and discussions. Often arising from years ago.

In recent GP practice merger discussions, I’ve come across quite a few examples of this. Such as “we don’t think they will make a good partner in our at scale entity because they <insert own example here> a few years ago”.  And a good few “we spoke to them about <insert own service here> and we couldn’t agree a clear way forward”.

And I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea. Is it right that our futures are constrained by something that happened in the past? Clearly, the answer is sometimes yes and I get that. But often, we’ve forgotten why we don’t engage with someone, don’t involve them and don’t value their involvement. The blue sunset picture reminded me not to assume anything. As someone famous once said, to assume is to make an ass out of you and me. Or something like that.

So the takeaway (aside from marvelling at this fab picture) is for you to challenge yourself to consider your current preconceptions, recall where they came from and when your formed them. And then to consider how those preconceptions may be holding you back from making the most of your future. I know I will bore people about the “real blue planet” for a good few months.