If we all know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” why do we do it anyway? In all fairness, we are not completely to blame. Part of the reason why we judge, make erroneous conclusions and categorize, has to do with many years of evolutionary brain function. It is our brain’s way of helping us get oriented at lightning speed and keeping us safe. It has to do with the amygdala and neural pathways that first were constructed in our younger selves.
That said, the rest of the responsibility is ours – whether you want to call it psyche, soul or mind, the fault lies with the part of you that goes beyond the bundle of nerves in your noggin. If you are interested in putting your Judgey McJudgerson self aside, it is in your control to do so- with some effort. Giving it a shot makes good sense because odds are your judging average is in the neighborhood of .200. The fact is while you may be practicing often, you continue to judge with a fair degree of inaccuracy.
For instance, see that nicely dressed woman over there? She’s not vain, but has a high pressure job in fashion that requires her to dress like that, similar to how soldiers have to wear a uniform. You know that lawyer in town who makes all that money? Well, he paid his way through college and law school and has a ton of student debt to pay off, not to mention three kids. Remember that deal? The one you put all of that effort into two years ago where the people on the other side didn’t even extend to you the professional courtesy of saying, “No thanks, not interested”? Turns out it is not dead in the water and no one was giving you the run around. The timing was just bad and it looks like you will still do business together somewhere down the road.
The absolute best case of documented, visible, measurable judgment is from when Susan Boyle appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. Admittedly, I came upon this video later than 99 percent of the population (judge away). Still, I am what doctors might call “obsessed.” Upon watching the footage, you not only can see the judgment wash across Simon Cowell’s face, but remarkably you see it pass like a wave over the entire audience. Be that as it may, when Boyle begins singing, the mood changes. The judgment recedes and is replaced by wonder, delight, awe, and raw human emotion.
Can’t see the video? Click here.
That’s where the lesson about judgment lies. When we judge prematurely, we are the ones who suffer. Sure it is no fun to be the recipient, but the one who dishes it out pays the steeper price. Imagine if Susan Boyle had been booed off the stage, escorted to the exit door, or booted from the audition for the show. Presumably she would have been okay. She would have kept on keeping on the same way she has been doing for forty odd years, but we would have been the lesser for it
We are the ones who would have been deprived of the feeling of pure joy brought about by “that voice.” I would have been denied the release obtainable only after a good cry. For this admission, you may judge me harshly. Alternatively, you could acknowledge that she brought you to your knees as well.