Don’t be too quick to judge

Don’t be too quick to judge

I’ve been a bit quiet online recently.

As I was finding many social platforms a very negative environment to be in.

As I was looking through my feeds on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, I was coming across some really negative themes. So I needed to step back and collect my thoughts.

As you may have noticed mindset is very important to me. Our own inner game is everything. With this in mind I very rarely believe there are bad people out there. There are only bad mindsets, and bad attitudes.

Good people can still have bad attitudes. In this respect I liken bad attitudes to being like a computer virus, that affects the performance of your machine. It’s not that the machine is bad, it’s just infected, and needs the bad programs removed.

When you consider that around 95% of what we do is purely habit, driven by mental programs we’ve built up over the years, you can see the comparison.

So what in particular have I been seeing that has led to me slowing down on social media?One of the traits that makes us human is our need to find our own tribes. We’re territorial animals, and we like to find our groups where we feel comfortable.

For example, I’m a Chelsea fan. I have a bias toward wanting them to always win. I also look at their performances with rose tinted specs, exaggerating how good they are, and how every other team is trying to cheat against us. This isn’t anything rational, or logical of course. Chelsea is just another football club like all the rest. It’s just an example of how we all find our tribes.

Within reason this is absolutely fine and a natural part of how we socialise, and build support networks.

Where I struggle with it however, is when tribes use it as a reason to negatively judge other tribes. For example, imagine if being a Chelsea fan meant I thought the fans of a competitor were all brain dead?

I don’t even need to explain that this is not cool. We can all see that this isn’t appropriate. (Well most of us that is).

Yet I bet if you look through your feeds today you’ll find examples of people behaving precisely this way right now. While they’ll justify their stances through believing they are stating facts, science, and actual truth. It is very clear that 99.9% of the people engaging in this behaviour don’t have all of the facts at all? They are simple picking a side and declaring all the other sides by default are bad.

Think of the following examples:

Are you a Brexiteer or a Remainer?

Are you pro-vaccine or an anti-vaxxer?

Are you a mask wearer or do you choose not to?

Are you passionate about climate change or not?

Do you think the earth is round or flat?

You only have to pick one of the above topics, and I’d be surprised if everyone reading this couldn’t think of clear examples of people berating people in the ‘wrong’ camp.

Such people are idiots!

Such imbeciles shouldn’t even be allowed to vote!

They’re everything that’s wrong with the world right now!

I hope they get what’s coming to them!

We should create borders so we can lock those nutters out of our world!

I could go on and on. Examples of all of them I’ve seen, and sadly I still regularly see. And it’s very sad.

How many friendships have broken down in recent years, over many of the topics above? Even long standing friendships that have endured decades. Really?

Having a difference of opinion is ok you know. That’s how the world works. But to think you have every decision all worked out, and that you’re always going to be on the correct side is a bit egotistical when you think about it.

My opinion is that we should focus a lot more on HOW to think instead of WHAT to think. Part of which is being open to discuss and debate ideas, BEFORE you rush to berate people.

How can you decide on a political party when you don’t even know all of the proposed policies? Personally I’ve never yet seen an individual who was berating others, who had half a clue what they were even voting for themselves. Maybe they could have benefited from an open conversation where they could have learned something? After all politics is complicated.

How do you decide what’s a conspiracy theory and what’s a fact if you don’t have access to all of the information? We’ve all seen crazy claims that have no evidence to support them, and we’ve all seen things flatly denied just because people don’t want it to be true. If you don’t know then don’t get involved. Just get on with your day and leave it to others. But if you’re going to rush to a side where you berate the other ‘tribe’, then you have to be prepared to research it, and actually be able to present an argument.

What happened to actually being able to discuss ideas? And debate openly as human beings?

Should I get stopped in the street by a young child asking me why the sky is green, would it be right for me to say ‘It isn’t you prat, you’re colour blind’?

Yet that’s the equivalent of adult discussions I’m seeing online. Just awful behaviour.

Rather I’d hope I can be a bit more interested and say ‘That’s interesting, I’d always believed it was blue? What makes you so sure it actually is green?’

Should you engage in a debate, there is no reason why you have to change your view. Especially if there isn’t enough evidence presented to make you change your mind.

But know this.

The other ‘tribe’ are very unlikely to be a bunch of ****s that are out to get you. They’re most likely the same as you deep down.

They probably just want to know they are making the right choices.

They probably take responsibility for making the world a better place and want to play their part.

They probably want the world to be cared for, and be a safe place for their children, and their grandchildren.

They probably just want to know the truth.And they probably worry that doing nothing could be just as harmful as making the wrong decision, and feel obliged to pick a ‘tribe’ and make a stand.

Most probably you have more in common with ‘other tribes’ out there than you’ll ever realise.

So when you think of it like this, why do people rush to berate others who think differently? When deep down most of us probably want the same thing. Just have different ideas of how to achieve it.

If you ever catch yourself thinking that people are bad just because they don’t agree with the same things you do, then please consider what I’m saying here.

Unless they actually do have an agenda to physically, mentally, or spiritually hurt you, (which in general population is extremely unlikely), then take a leaf out of Stephen Covey’s book:

“First seek to understand, then to be understood”

Ask the question, and be open to debating it. If you don’t want to debate it, then that’s totally fine. You don’t have to. Just move along. You don’t have to pick a side in every fight anyway. You can always choose to sit it out.

But here’s the kicker. If you’re not prepared to debate it as an adult, (and as an adult is the key part), then it’s not really correct for you to judge anyone with a different view. All you’re effectively doing is beating your chest to the equivalent of saying ‘Chelsea are the best football team ever, and if you don’t agree you’re a Prat!”

Listen to each other. Share ideas together. And just be nice.

Not everyone out there is out to get you.

Let’s bring back having the good old debate. Where topics can be brought up, ideas discussed, and the world can be put to rights. Afterwards we can all remain friends and go our separate ways.

Hopefully more the wiser, for actually taking the time to understand why other ‘tribes’ think the way they do.


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