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First Impression Judgments Are An Error In Thinking

Common error in thinking
What is wrong with the way we think? One of the most common errors in the way people think is to judge something on a chance appearance, and conclude this is the thing.

First impression
We're all told about the value of making a good first impression. An interviewer, or a stranger, will form an impression of you, your character, your personality all within the first 60 seconds of meeting you. Or is it 30 seconds or just a few seconds?

A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly change those immediate impressions. Judgments based on appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated.

Job interview
A business manager interviews someone with a great business record, highly recommended by others and a good resume, but during the interview the guy seems uninspired. So the manager tells his colleagues, I don’t think we should hire this guy. Most people say that’s reasonable, but how can we say that we know the person? Typically an interview is a half hour. A lot of what goes on in the interview has little to do with future executive performance.

Limited observation is unscientific
We will carry away and retain this incomplete picture of the person unless we have further contact to get to know them better. This is an unscientific judgment based on a single encounter.

Limited thinking is unscientific
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom discusses how all living things are in a "process of becoming". Everything is constantly changing and moving through an infinite number of stages. A naive unthinking person does not take the unseen possibilities into consideration. A person convicted of a crime will always remain a criminal. The truth is we are all changing. “The picture which presents itself to me at any one moment is only a chance section out of the continuous process of growth in which the object is engaged.” POF 5.4

Unfoldment of human potential
Scientific thinking is able to go beyond mere observation and look at possibilities that lay within things if given the opportunity, such as what happens to a rose when given the proper water and light. A human being will flourish given the opportunities to unfold their potential. With thinking we can see and work with the process of becoming.

“Each one of us has it in us to be a free spirit, just as every rosebud is potentially a rose.' POF 10.8

reference: Eric Wargo, Samira Shackle

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© Tom Last 2017
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