Regardless of your religious beliefs, you likely associate “judgment day” with a processing of a life’s worth of action and information. And yet, we tend to make judgments all day without hardly any information at all.
Dictionary.com defines “judgment” as “the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense, and discretion.”
We believe our judgment to be true–because, after all, we formed that judgment (or opinion) objectively. Right? Let’s look at an example. Suppose that you are driving in morning traffic and a car in your lane stops. A woman jumps out of the driver’s seat and opens the back door. You can’t see what she is doing, but you start to form judgments anyway:
- She dropped her cell phone and is trying to retrieve it from the back seat.
- She needs something out of her briefcase.
- Why didn’t she pull over to the shoulder if she wanted to stop?
- She must not care that she’s making others wait.
Your judgments may depend not only on what you can see, but also on your urgency to get to your destination or emotions that were stirred prior to encountering this woman.
Maybe, the woman has an infant in the back seat that is choking. If you knew, or took the time to gather this one simple fact, it would have altered your judgment. But we don’t always seek or care to know the facts before we judge. And that affects the accuracy and objectivity of our judgments.
Beware of quick judgments and be willing to revisit them.
Which of your judgments–about coworkers or customers–might be premature or unfair? Which ones might warrant revisiting?
This is the second post in a four part series. The next post will address how past experiences cause us to assume that future events will happen.