To Judge Or Not To Judge – The Danger Of Assumptions

Starting_The_ChallengeI was waiting for the bus yesterday to come back from our local town and it was running later, which is not that unusual. In fact, it was sat just up the road, in plain sight where the bus drivers stop and take a break before their next route.

It was a few minutes late and I started to hear people in the queue muttering about the drive. “What’s he doing standing around on his phone”, “He’s late, why’s he standing there on his phone?” and so on. People were moaning about the fact he was stood outside his bus on his phone. It looked like, from this distance, he was enjoying a longer conversation on the phone and taking a longer break than normal.

A few minutes later he finished on the phone and got on his bus. Then he waved everyone over, and like good citizens we all went, with most of the queue mumbling about having to walk a hundred yards or so and being derogatory because the driver was running late and had been on his cell phone.

As we were getting on the bus the driver apologized for each person as they got on saying that the bus wouldn’t start and he’d called an engineer. Shortly after everyone had got on the bus a van pulled up next to the bus, an engineer jumped out, reeled out two huge jump leads and gave the bus a jump start. Off we went, only ten or so minutes late.

Were there some red faces on the bus?

I’m sure there were. Many of the people in the queue were passing judgement on the driver without being in possession of all of the facts. They didn’t know why the driver was outside of the bus on his cell phone. They assumed he was making a personal call and taking a longer break. Many of these people were quite derogatory about the bus driver and bus drivers in general because they had assumed the driver was being lazy.

In fact the driver was doing his very best to minimize disruption to the passengers and ensure they could all get on their way as quickly as possible.

We all jump to conclusions without being in possession of all the information necessary for us to come to an accurate conclusion. Think about your life right now and how you make assumptions. Do you assume a meaning from something your partner says and get annoyed only to find out you were wrong? Do you jump to a conclusion after seeing something and make an assumption?

An example I often use in seminars is if you were to see me from across the road kneeling down next to someone hacking at their arm with a knife, what would you assume?

Just think about it for a moment, what would you assume?

Most of you would assume I was assaulting the person with a view to robbing them.

What if I was removing his arm to prevent gangrene killing him? What if they had been bitten by a zombie and I was removing their arm to stop them becoming a zombie?

We are all guilty of leaping to conclusions without being in possession of all of the facts. For some people, they are Olympic class athletes in this sport.

Watch your thoughts over the next week and see if you can notice when you are leaping to conclusions and making assumptions about the meaning of something without being fully aware of the circumstances and facts. Look at the people around you and notice how they too are jumping to conclusions and making assumptions, often triggering malicious gossip based on just a fragment of the necessary information.

Work to stop yourself from making these assumptions and passing judgement until you know all of the facts. It’s good enough in a court of law and is even better in improving your every day life.

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