Don’t assume!

It is human nature to jump to hasty conclusions about the things we encounter in the world. After all, making the assumption that the man panhandling on the street corner is too lazy to get a job, frees up our limited mental processing capacity for more important things like keeping track of Kardashian gossip. On a similar note, I’ve found that one of the greatest the challenges of being an evaluator is suspending judgement so that you can take in a whole event, experience, or product without forming an opinion that might otherwise influence any subsequent data collection and analysis. With that in mind, here are two stories that might help you think twice about forming a quick opinion about something.

In 2007 Joshua Bell, one of the best violinists in the world, gave an unannounced concert in a Washington D.C. metro station. The commuters passing by seemed oblivious to his talent, quick to assume he was just another street musician trying to earn a few bucks, rather than a master musician playing a Stradivarius worth millions. Their assumptions blocked their ability to appreciate his performance for what it was, rather than what they assumed it to be:

An eerily similar thing happened in 2013, when the famed street artist Banksy set up a booth in Central Park and only managed to sell 8 pieces of his signed artwork.

These two examples (and I’m sure there are many more out there!) serve as a great reminder that we shouldn’t pass quick judgment about the things that we encounter on the job as evaluators, or in life in general.


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