First of all I want to take a second to remember Sept, 11, 2011 and all those we lost. It was a horrible tragedy, and may it never happen again. My thoughts are with the families affected by the events of that awful day.
What I want to talk about today on my Post for Thought is Judgment. I don’t mean judging the pros and cons of making a certain purchase or something relatively minute. I mean judging people. Judging each other. Judging strangers. Why do we think that we have the right to do that? I have to admit that I do it too. We have these preconceived notions about which external traits correspond to one’s character. How can you possibly know what a person has been through without actually talking to them? Just because a person looks a certain way doesn’t mean you know anything about them. I have a few personal examples I want to talk about to illustrate my point.
I was at family oriented reception in a beautiful hall, with catered food, flowers, dancing. A very lovely Sunday afternoon atmosphere. Everyone was mostly wearing appropriate summer dresses. No one was dressed provocatively as this was a family event. All of a sudden I see a tall skinny girl in rather short shorts, and with a big tattoo. I’m not going to lie, my first thought went to “why is she wearing that? Just because you have a stellar body doesn’t mean that you need to show it off at every chance you get.” And of course after thinking that I assumed she’s probably bitchy and so on and so forth. I feel terrible even admitting that I thought that because I later found out that she had a really difficult past, including a lot of health problems which she overcame. When I found this out I looked over and smiled at her, and she smiled back the most genuine, and kind smile. My opinion of her changed immediately. But the thing is, I shouldn’t have formed that opinion in the first place. We can be such assholes to one another.
The second example I want to talk about is an article I read on LinkedIn the other day talking about a VC judging people based on the car that they drive. What a load of crap. Here’s the link to the article if you’re interested. I couldn’t help but comment on it. Contrary to what this VC thinks, there are so many unknowns. You can’t even judge a person’s financial situation based on the car they drive. Plenty of people drive cars way below their means because they have different priorities. They know that a car is not a good investment, because as soon as its driven off the lot it’s already depreciated in value. On the flip side, there are people who buy cars way above their means just for show. There are a million and one other factors, but point being don’t judge. If you want to know more about a person just ask them. Walk up to them and make conversation, pretend it’s 1990 again and speak. People are friendlier than you think, and mostly love to talk about themselves.
And finally, I was in a bad part of town recently. And when I say bad I mean just a few weeks ago gun shots were exchanged. It’s not very affluent and has a bad reputation. I decided to do some grocery shopping while I was in that neighborhood. If you put your preconceived notions aside you will see the human side of every neighborhood. You will realize that while crime exists, there are also innocent and peaceful people in these neighborhoods that are just like everyone else. It was so heartwarming to overhear a conversation between an older gentleman and a younger woman. It seems they have known each other for a long time but haven’t been in touch in a long while. It was so sweet to hear them catch up, and listen to him ask about her son. They smiled and were so kind.
So step outside your asshole bubble and open up your world. You will be surprised at who you will meet, and what you might discover.