So when is judgement day? Today of course! I mean, the day when you start to exercise better judgement. Better judgment is, in the end, what sorts us out. No time like the present for improving that…
I have met many intelligent people in my life. Some have made some remarkably stupid decisions. We read everyday about huge corporations writing off ten or even a hundred million on a project- usually an ambitious IT project promising to make a place paperless or fully interconnected- writing off a vast sum of money as a COMPLETE LOSS. But someone made that decision, some well educated, well informed humanoid with BAD judgement.
The question we must pressingly ask ourselves then, is, how do we build better judgement? This means better judgement of people, plans, the future, ourselves.
First off, scrap what the culture is telling you. The message beamed by TV/Commercials/pub conversations is that better experts will make better decisions. Crap.
Experts however are not the problem, really. It is the ‘expert worshipping’ culture that currently exists.
Judgement can be improved by experience, should be, all other things being equal. But rarely they are. People have a grand tendency for living lives out of balance, and it is emotional wobbles that account for many lapses of judgement.
Then there are people imprisoned by an image, an idea, or as Wittgenstein put it “a picture held us captive”. Bust out of a picture by looking for humour, counter-examples as a matter of course, incongruities- stuff that just won’t fit- instead of ignoring it, note it.
But are there any little things you can do to improve your judgement over time?
1. Get used to trusting yourself. Start small. Do I trust myself to post this blog post without running it past anyone else first?
2. Look for patterns in your life, cycles that come round and round, sub-personalities that take you over on a regular basis. Keep a journal of them. This emotional roundabout is you, or rather the fence around you, so it helps to know where the gaps are.
3. Look for the opposite view point as a habit. Look for the humour in any situation that appears devoid of it.
4. Examine in DETAIL the exact opposite option that most experts are recommending. The EXACT opposite can often be the next big thing. Not always but it can be.
5. When you first meet someone remember your first reaction when you saw them and before they opened their mouth and spoke with a gilt edged tongue. That first impression of revulsion or liking or neutrality should always be remembered and heeded if necessary.
6. Hang out with people who have demonstrably good judgement in any field you like.
7. Move towards things that increase your own sense of self-reliance, move away from what decreases it.
8. Avoid debt.
9. Practise generousity as a way of freeing the mind of obligations. Give others the free lunches.
10. Look for a role model in whatever area you work (alive or dead, doesn't matter) who increases, when you think of him or her, your sense of potential.