To Judge or Not To Judge
I Say Judge!
Judgment is the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision. We use our ability to judge hundreds of times daily in our personal and business decision making processes. However, ‘to judge’ or ‘be judged’ is, as they said on MAD TV, an “HNP, hole nuther problem”.
I believe it’s necessary to judge others. What? We are told Not to Judge! Yes, I also was told that and once I believed it, which got me into trouble, maybe you as well.
Here is what would happen. I would be with someone and get a gut feeling that would tell me not to trust them, then that voice in my left ear would say, “Don’t judge…” By the time I discovered that the little voice was wrong and the gut was right, I was in deep. If I had trusted my gut judgment, I could have saved a lot of time, effort, heartache, and money. I’m not talking about judging the person. I’m talking about judging their actions in a given situation.
Let’s create a mental picture
You’re walking down a deserted street late at night and you see a dimly lit person hunkered down against a street pole watching you as you walk in their direction. Their hands are buried deep in their coat, head slowly scanning in all directions. Even now as you read you get a knot in the pit of your stomach. Question, would you continue walking toward him? Of course not, you would take a detour in search of safety. However, did you not just pass judgment? Yes definitely; however, something caused you to question your judgment. You say to yourself, “Am I 100% sure there is danger?”
We Judge What Others Communicate
Communication; a look, sound, utterance, expression, word, touch, taste, pace, tone, intensity, odor, from one being to another as to transfer an idea, belief, warning, desire, fear, anger, thought, lesson, praise, love, or question. Not exactly Webster’s definition; however, I believe that about covers it.
You Cannot Not Communicate
Unless you live in a cave and never have interaction with another being and no one knows you’re there, ‘you cannot ‘not’ communicate.’ Everything you do communicates who you are, how you’re thinking, what you’re thinking, your attitude, desires, sorrows, joys, ambitions, inclinations, apprehension, anxieties, and pace. All of which other people watch, perceive, and interpret.
Stories are told of how W. C. Fields used to park on Hollywood Blvd with his assistant and watch people. As strangers passed by, he would comment on how he perceived them. “There’s a happy lady. Oh, such a poor troubled soul. Ah yes, a little snot filled, drape hanger that doesn’t have a clue! Hide, here comes an axe murder.” We laugh, but there is not one amongst us that hasn’t done much the same thing while waiting for an airplane. We interpret or read people and pass judgment as to who they are and what they re about. Why else would we say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Our Playlist is Programmed Not To Judge
Behavioral psychologists tell us that ‘internal questioning’ which creates doubt is founded in past parental programming of our subconscious – referred to as ‘Parent Tapes’. That little iPod inside your brain that says, “When you cross a street you look…” Just think how strong these messages are? How many of you are members of the Clean Plate Club – programmed messages that are the bane of the overweight. Here are a few more Parent Tapes:
Don’t Judge lest you be Judged.
Don’t talk to strangers.
Don’t take candy from strangers.
Wear clean underwear.
Children should be seen and not heard.
Just wait until your father gets home.
Judgment and Questions Keep Us Safe
Yes, I too was taught not to judge people lest you be judged. However, I chose to do different with my children. I taught them from an early age to assess the situation (which includes all those involved), take the appropriate action or reaction. What is that if not judgment?
Don’t Judge Others – Ha!
Judgment happens on three distinct levels – conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. Brain scientists tell us that most judgment takes place on a subconscious level because it’s our subconscious that is constantly sorting based on our morals values and beliefs. The ‘subconscious’ is the dominant level used in judging others. Our subconscious is the only level absent of free will. The subconscious can only do what the conscious mind tells it to do; i.e., parent tapes repeated consciously program our subconscious.
As previously stated, one of our earliest subconscious parental programs is, “When you cross a street you look both ways.” Have you ever tried to cross a street and only look one way? Even if it’s a one-way street you are frozen to the curb until you give the street your two-way glance. Or just as bad, you’re in a country where they drive on the opposite side of the street. I was in Bermuda at the curb of a busy street, late for an appointment. I glanced left stepped out into the street, and I then looked right. Right into the face of an oncoming bus! Lucky for me I jumped back and he veered right. Well Duh! Which brings me to a very important part of communication and judgment, HABIT!
The Brain Is Habitual
The brain is made to work on habit. Once we repeat the simplest act several times, it automatically becomes habit. It does this so we don’t have to think about it. Walking, breathing, driving to or from the office is all locked into the visceral part of our brain where all habits reside. The visceral is the only part of our brain that grows in mass as we age. The older we are, the more things we do habitually.
Try this experiment: Tomorrow morning in the shower, wash something different first! Years ago I posed this challenge to an audience in Havelock, NC. A man in the middle stood up and said, “I don’t recon I have anything different to wash first.” I fell over with laughter.
How Would You Interpret (read, judge, or describe) this person?
A man walks slowly into the room. Slump shoulders, eyes down, slight cautious movements, hesitant response, quiet low voice, and spongy handshake?
Would you use words like intelligent, assertive, powerful, or commanding presence? I doubt it. Instead you probably used descriptors such as depressed, shy, sad, unhappy, unloved, backward, weak, negative, and lacking in confidence. If those are the words you used, you have an overwhelming grasp of the obvious and you have just made a judgment.
Would your judgment change if I told you he was dressed in scrubs including booties and a surgical mask partially untied? Of course it would.
What if it was a woman or a child? So many variables enter into the non-verbal communication equation.
87% of ALL Communication is Non-Verbal
And add that when verbal is different than non-verbal, which one wins? NON-VERBAL of course.
It’s not what you say that people read, it’s what YOU DON’T SAY!
Now it’s your turn. Pass judgment on this blog and make comments, please. Throw in your two cents worth and get ready because we are going to explore this more and share How To Use Judgment In A Win/Win Environment.
Keep Smiling – It Looks Good On You