Judging people has consequences

In my first job with the police, one of my bosses would constantly find fault with me and haul me over coals for some mistake or the other. Almost every letter from him would warn me of disciplinary action.

And very sadly, this fault-finding boss was a very upright officer, whom I immensely respected.

Many years later, this former boss of mine told me why he treated me like that. He said, “I initially thought you were lazy and not committed to the job. But later, I changed my opinion.”

To be fair, I had many shortcomings but laziness was certainly not one of them. But somehow, my boss drew that conclusion from some early interactions or possibly, hearsay.

We all have a tendency to judge people quickly and we think we are good at it – we are not.

Once we have a prejudice, we selectively pick data points that validate our belief. That is how social biases propagate.

In fact, my first impression of people has often turned out to be wrong.

Facial expressions, body language, and even how people talk, can all be misleading. So don’t jump to conclusions. Take your time. Judging people has consequences.

– Rajan

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