SECRET: Why people judge you

Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung (1875-1961) once said, "Thinking is difficult, that's why most people judge."

I think Jung hit this one out of the park.

People, in general, are lazy thinkers. They try to minimize their thinking as much as possible, thus the reason my social psychology professor in college once told my class that human beings are "cognitive misers."

I think this explains in part why people have become so reliant on reality television -- or, more broadly, TV in general -- for entertainment. In this era of Netflix and streaming content, the last thing most people are thinking about is reading Shakespeare for leisure.

Technology, moreover, seems to be exacerbating the problem. The easier things become, the less inclined we are to think critically to arrive at solutions to problems.

And why don't people want to think? Because it's difficult, taxing, strenuous. Most people wish to spend as little brainpower as possible, especially after coming home from work.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that people resort to judging others in the absence of information. When they don't know us well, they fill in any gaps arbitrarily.

For example, they may deem quiet people to be stuck-up and assume overly talkative ones must be heavy drinkers or club hoppers.

In other words, they pass judgment without knowing the facts because, well, it's the easy route. Maybe if they actually took the time to talk to the individual or get someone else's opinion, they'd be in a position to make a more accurate assessment.

If you want to get a better feel for what a person is really like, you have all sorts of digital tools at your disposal today, from LinkedIn to Facebook. A little research goes a long way.

Too many people talk -- or judge -- before they think, and it often lands them in hot water.

We shouldn't judge anyone until we have sufficient information to go by, and, even then, our judgment may still be faulty.


Anonymous said...

As I age, I tend to think less (it is too tiresome) - and thus also judge less. I guess I've learned I don't make a good judge. Leave judging to God. He is the only good judge out there - one who knows our human weaknesses and has compassion.

Anonymous said...

Just passing by; I liked the article but found a bit of humor in the comment here in regards to just letting God do the judging. How many deaths or 'things' occur to people which have been laid blame to 'God'? Following the train of thought here that you've brought up, what if the things that God, not the people of, but God has judged, or the deaths occurred because of that great ability to understand and know compassion?
All in all you're right. Judging can be a messy business.