Respect and Prejudice / by Scott Nichols



Respect and Prejudice - One requires effort and the latter occurs in the absence of effort.

It’s much easier to settle on a single perspective or worldview, narrowing our opportunities within a small framework. This makes it easier to make decisions or judgments about people, ideas, situations and opportunities. This shortcut for decision making arises from the ancient part of our brain concerned with survival. It was useful when ancient humans encountered a sabretooth tiger for the first time. …This cat looks dangerous, I’m going to avoid it!

In the modern world, where most of our eminent, environmental dangers are mitigated. This shortcut, or lazy quick decision mechanism, blinds us to opportunity.  For example organizations actively screen out candidates who don’t have an MBA. The reason stems from a fear of hiring the wrong candidate. After all you could end up hiring a Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg; that would be a disaster! Your boss would certainly fire you if you hired one of those guys by accident.

That was a business example, but if we are honest with ourselves, we all engage in this cognitive laziness. That is why you are certain that you don’t like that food that you have never tried at that strange restaurant.

Conversely, respect is what can occur when we take the time to observe and learn about people, ideas, situations and opportunities. Lead with respect and withhold judgment. At the very least, you may discover that you love eating kimschi or pad thai.