Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Problem with Judgment

We all hope we exercise good judgment and most of us do, most of the time.  There is no problem with that kind of judgment.  I speak of our right to cast judgment upon others.  To assign them a label, or declare others good or evil.  We are not privy to all of the facts, yet we quickly pass judgment based on the assumptions that fill our heads..

Rarely do we know the circumstances behind the bad behavior we witness in others.  Just like we never see the hard work and anguishing self-doubt behind the successful among us.  We see failure and greed.  We judge at a surface level.  The truth lies deeper.

Chris Argyris calls it the Ladder of Inference.  We make assumptions based on our observations, draw assign meaning to those assumptions, then draw conclusions, which over time become the beliefs that drive our actions.  The problem is, our observations are selected from a broader set of available information, leading to faulty assumptions, incorrect meanings, and ultimately bad decisions.   

Be aware of the information fed to you.  Know its source and limitations.  Consider the possibility that the source has limited resources, or may even be diliberately misleading or distracting you.

Seek a broader view and consider more possibilities before judging.From a spiritual perspective, judgment is not ours to cast on others anyway.  That right belongs to God alone.  It is better to observe than to judge.  You just might learn something.

No comments: