While working in Department of Corrections, I got some excellent training from some of the top forensic psychologists in the world. And one of the things that struck me straight away is how careful and diligent they were in assessing somebody.
They might spend 20 hours interviewing, researching, investigating, and using tools on somebody before they’d present any kind of diagnosis to the parole board or whomever.
What struck me is how much effort they put in to get to know someone before they would even dare to make a call about what kind of person they were. And even when they did finally come to a conclusion, they were always careful to hedge their bets and leave it open to further criticism. They were never 100% certain about someone, despite the depth of their analysis.
Then I looked at what us normal people do.
We make snap judgments in seconds, coming to deep, certain, and permanent conclusions about people based on very little information, and certainly not reliable or valid data. We’re rarely open to being corrected after forming these conclusions. We’ll love or hate people based on less than 30 seconds of analysis of bad information.
You know what that means? We're stupid!
When you judge someone quickly, the most likely result is that you're wrong.
For more on this topic, check out my longer video How to Manage Being Judgmental here: