Judging people is so easy – and you may be next
Please take a look at this video. Some of life’s situations can let others assume some funny and not so funny stuff about who we are (the dad getting stopped by the police in the first clip could totally be our family). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNdapXryZ98
Based on what we see we jump to conclusions in an instant. Just this morning I saw a FB post in which someone vented about Prius drivers. According to this person that kind of car invites folks to drive extremely slow. Others chimed in and ripped people for driving that car. Ironically Eclipse drivers and some other cars and their drivers did not fare all that well either. Hmm. Do you actually believe that this is true, or is this not a dangerous and mostly unfair generalization (I don’t want to know or car what they are saying about me and my car)? The common denominator here is that no one bothers to ask any questions. That is very common to all of us. We all do this on a daily basis and it could not be more riddled with issues.
Let me illustrate this with a recent example of this. I was in Germany on a train with my family and with my sister’s family. My sister and I were in stitches over the fact that she had fallen badly during a visit to a science museum. She wasn’t badly hurt, but it looked like a space shuttle launch after bouncing off a wall belonging to an interactive exhibit. I egged her on and had a royal case of the giggles.
During this giggle-fest an African man (he was on the phone loudly speaking in his native tongue) sat down not far from us. After about 20 minutes he got up to get out of the train and he passed right by us. He turned around and asked my in English were I was from. I told him and tried asking him the same question.
He totally lost it on me and berated me about how I will get into trouble one day if I do not manage to calm down. He was very upset at my sister and me. He thought all along that we had made fun of him! It was so bad that other train guest’s started to get up thinking that we needed help. It was not necessary as he finally got off the train.
I was stumped. How could he just assume that my sister and I had been laughing about him? I felt really bad about this situation, but a little while later I pondered the question as to why this person never asked us straight in the face why we were laughing. I would have been glad to explain the situation (I actually even had photos of my sister’s “take off and landing” to prove the story).
Then I asked myself what I would have done had I been in the place of the other person. I am still not so sure that I would have stopped to ask questions. It is so much easier to think and judge situations and leaving them be, but getting upset about it anyway.
Nasty thing about this is that every one of us – you are not safe regardless what vehicle you drive – can be at the receiving end of premature judgments. That is my call to action. Take a deep breath before you get yourself too worked up. Stay calm and cool. Try thinking rationally and ask questions helping clarify whatever misunderstanding may be at hand. It’s not only nicer, but also a lot healthier as well.