Judge People by Repeated Choices They Make

man pointing finger in a forward direction
Image by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

We humans are a walking scanner of other human animals. We scan in order to understand if our lives should merge with theirs.

We scan to see if they share the same beliefs as us. We watch how they talk, what they listen to, what other people say about them, what clothes they wear, or whether they support Ttump or not...

We pull the data from infinite sources simoultaniously without even realizing it. Based on this, we let the people in our lives. Or, we close the door. Without even thinking if we have ever made a conscious choice.

Meet the Systems One and Two

Most of our judgment is done unconsciously. We make instant conclusions without even being aware of the whole process in our minds.

Why? — It is easier.

In his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman separates our thinking patterns into two different systems.

System 1 — operates at a lighting speed without much conscious thought.. Processes the data instantly with little or no effort.

System 2 — engages in effortful mental activities that demand attention. This modus operandi is in charge of processing a big chunk of data with conscious concentration.

Now, when you judge your fellow humans, mostly system 1 fires. You make conclusions fast and you do it for “good” deep-rooted reasons.

One might argue that system 1 can’t judge, because it has no time to look at the evidence. Still, since it is fully capable of making decisions, it’s fair to say it can make or influence judgments.

System 1 saves the energy you need for other things in life. It also keeps you safe, well, and protected. Your past experiences have influenced this automatic triggering of system 1 and it is there for the reason.

The problem with system 1 is that it is dum. It’s not asking you or system 2 for any approval. It makes fast judgments.

Before you judge people by their repeated choices…

In order to do this “correctly”, you first have to understand where I stand. So, here is my genuine opinion…

  • Not all people who walk are convicts. Most don’t like to be judged, nor do they deserve to be. Criticism, feedback, honest conversations, and even ignorance are usually better approaches. So I choose these methods before any judging takes place.
  • It’d be wise to judge people you let into your life. I also judge those who have a high influence over my choices and thinking. I have to, it is my mind and life we are talking about here…
  • I don’t understand why anyone would judge someone who is not even remotely involved in their life. To my surprise, most people do this online. Call me stupid and even fixeted, but I don’t get it. I have 0 interest in it. The only results I see are the stress and conversations I never wanted to have in the first place...

And the most important statement that I would advise anyone and myself.

Try as hard as you can not to judge people after one or small set of choices they made.

Use system 2 to judge people by repeated choices

People make mistakes in life. A lot of mistakes. They make choices that don’t even make sense to themselves. Ironically, they slip more than few times.

No, you are not an idiot for making same mistake twice. If that was true, we could call ourself homo idiots instead of homo sapiens. (the more I think about this, the more it makes sense…)

However, other people make choices that fall into your subjective categories.

Suspicious choices, bad choices, smart choices, irrelevant choices, naive choices… You categorize other’s choices with either system 1 or system 2, but you still do it.

Let’s say you have a frined named John…

If John makes a three bad choices in a row, doesn’t mean John is a bad person.

John might be on the rough patch, but it doesn’t mean you have enough sample size to judge John. Maybe, you want to check up on John, see where he is at, help him, listen to him…

However if John is continually or periodically for longer period making choices within your same subjective category (bad)… well, maybe you should consider John a bad person.

Why?

Well, you spend time with John. John doesn’t seem to listen to any advice. John is a danger to both himself and to you…

I’ll even state something that came up after years of engaging in system 2…

If John, after repeated choices he’s made, is not judging himself…It’s a good sign you should do the judging.

How do you engage in system 2?

Well, you should intellectualize the problem.

Try to see where John was coming from, what his life looked at the time, what problems he had that you weren’t able to see. Try to remember what John did over time repeatedly.

If you just met John, don’t judge him immediately for voting for Trump or for not being vaccinated. He might just have a fine reason for doing so or deep rooted beliefs that came from the right place.

Instead, try to spend time with John, have a conversation. See what he is repeatedly doing and in what category it fits. It might turn out you really like John.

The point is that we need a world with more understanding and less harsh, midless judgment. Somehow it seems, we already have enough of that.

So, let’s engage in system two, spend time thinking, have conversations, an try to understand people.

Only then should you make a judgement. In my opinion, you have a complete right to do so.

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I write words that entertain & educate. I entertain because I like being entertained; I educate since I wish to understand.

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Luciano Kovacevic

Luciano Kovacevic

I write words that entertain & educate. I entertain because I like being entertained; I educate since I wish to understand.

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