Evaluation and judgment serve a purpose, and you can use both to inspire and empower yourself or others.
Joy lamented: Other parents in the park keep on asking me if my children are mine. Sometimes, the same woman asked me the same question every time I am there with my children.
Me: Try not to take it personally. Is not easy, but try. Sometimes, people judge us because of what they see and know. Be the first to introduce yourself and your children to people in the park. You can ask them if the children they have are their too.
Joy: “Ask them if the children they have, are their too.”
Me: “smile” Yes…
Judgment is like fast food, and evaluation is like a well-prepared restaurant meal. Both served a purpose and can inspire, empower, or belittled people.
For the progress of our society, evaluation is essential. Measurement with consistent data or action is likely to accurately assess our relationship, career, lifestyle, or consumers’ goods.
A professor can evaluate a student more accurately after two to four years of interaction with her/him. Or judge a student after one semester of laboratory examination.
The truth is we all judge and evaluate ourselves or others.
Judgment is quick, and most of the time, wrong. It is guesswork or a single story. For example, Joy’s experience in the park. It’s OK to ask questions, but the same question repeatedly means you are stereotyping Joy’s body or questioning her parenthood.
Evaluation takes time with more engagement and consistent data. For instance, as an expert in your field, you have the authority to evaluate a case with thorough observation, questioning, and examination.
Beware, experts can be wrong.
For example, an expert provided data to back the claim that women were too stupid to know how to vote.
Three ways to make the world a better place with evaluation or judgment:
1. Stop the single- story:
The internationally acclaimed author, Chimamanda Adichie, explains how a single story works — guesswork or stereotyping. She asserts that a one-sided story can screw our ability to get to know people and their talent.
We all play around with others’ single story that often benefits us. Beware and evaluate many stories about people and things.
My friend, Uyai, is a single middle-aged woman and has no child. But she is kind, a mover of her industry, a talented dog groomer, a mentor, has a distinguished career, and volunteers.
Uyai is a single woman and other awesome things.
We get the gist here.
Be patient and do your homework.
Tell many stories about yourself and others.
Anytime we casually judge others with a single story, our conscience is there to help us correct our mistakes and be mindful next time. We all make mistakes, and we can learn from them.
Conscience is an open wound, and only the truth can heal her.
2. Group alignment:
Two children raised in the same household can behave differently. I have six siblings with the same parents and raised in the same home, but we are different.
Never judge a person with your experience with his/her sibling or race or gender, color, or class. Take the time to evaluate, then use what you know about an individual to make your case.
Statisticians are humans, and they can be wrong.
Group judgment is selective and often dangerous.
A decade ago, Beltway sniper had attacked and killed more people in Washington DC for a three-week period because they didn’t meet the experts’ group profile.
Beware of unconscious bias.
We all have unconscious biases, including moralists. List your unconscious bias on a piece of paper and work from there. If you make a mistake, work on them again and again.
3. Have an open mind:
An open- mind is not giving up on your beliefs or accepting others’ values. Sometimes, we can welcome or adopt others' way of thinking or lifestyle because it’s valuable. For instance, many Americans eat African, Chinese, and Mexican food. Many nations in the world are adopting the US system of government — Democracy.
Thanks to Steve Job and others, information is at our fingertips. We can say goodbye to laziness and take the time to learn the truth about people; how? Talk to them, ask honest questions and give people the benefit of the doubt. Be patient and manage difficult people before you evaluate or deny them of their human dignity or what they work for, for years.
Talk with people.
We can always evaluate people or things but judge rarely.
The superficial weather or handbag small talk rarely helps us know people. Have a conversation about family, fear, hope, or passion. Most importantly, know others before we judge them. No one is perfect. Never expect perfection from yourself or others.
Three ways to make the world a better place with your evaluation or judgment:
- Stop the single-story — take time to learn about people's many stories.
- Have an open mind — stand for something and respect others' values or beliefs. Copy people's lifestyle if it’s valuable to you.
- Group alignment rarely makes things better — treat people as individuals.
Help yourself grow