Be Careful How You Judge

What always occurs when we meet another person? We judge them. We form judgments as to the person’s background, intelligence, competence, interests…on and on. And while you are forming these judgments there is one thing I would bet on – you did not conduct much due diligence.  You’ll draw conclusions based on incomplete information. In my book, Humanity at Work; Encouraging Spirit, Achievement & Truth to Flourish in the Workplace (Chapel Hill Press 2008), I make the following observations,
“When we meet a stranger, for example, and come into the new encounter, the measuring vessel is almost empty.  As the clock ticks, we begin determining the person’s place on life’s status ladder.  Although deeply uninformed, we form opinions fast about whether we are better or worse, superior or inferior to this relative stranger.
Let’s say the person is a waitress serving our food—so far we’re ahead.  Then we start talking to her and learn she’s a pre-med student home for the summer.  The measuring vessel is now almost full!  But the view the Lord has of this person is no different than before.  Why should it be?  Is it not enough that she is simply another soul doing the best she can?  “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” said Greek philosopher Plato (427 B.C. – 347 B.C.), as quoted in Laura Moncur’s online Motivational Quotations.  Even so, once we learn she is going to have a high-status position in our culture—that of physician—we think more of her as a person.
Still, none of this is surprising.  Human beings, like other primates, have structured hierarchies in which some of the members appear to be in dominant positions to others.  Each of us is societally stratified!  Something like the grading of gasoline—you know, “Regular,” Premium,” and “Super.”  Moreover, most of us compete to assure our position in such hierarchies.  The desire and competition to be successful are as normal and healthy as any other undertaking I can think of. ”
Misjudging someone can be embarrassing on a personal level and significantly disadvantage you in business dealings. So rather than simply “sizing someone up”, take the time to learn his or her story. It will ferment better relationships and have the added benefit of making life far more interesting.

About Santo Costa

Sandy Costa is an internationally respected speaker and business leader. Check out Sandy’s website at
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