Why do we judge what we see? Take this photo as an example… I snapped this several years ago in downtown Nashville. It was a Saturday night and this man was going from person to person asking for a mere fifty cents. Did anyone offer him the two quarters he wanted? The answer would be no. But, because I am slightly curious about everyone, I not only moved towards him while others moved away, I gave him fifty cents.
When we see people that we don’t know we intertwine their appearance with our own circumstances, our own past, our hurts and faults. After we take a look at that person, our perception becomes our reality, thanks to our minds creativity.
There was a lawyer who represented the United States in the infamous Iran hostage situation during the 1980’s whom I have always thought of as an interesting, powerful and extremely smart individual. If you saw him, you would assume he was an ambulance chaser.
Herb Cohen wears cheap brown or dark brown suits. His hair looks as if he gets it cut at the least expensive barber shop in the mall. His jokes are bad and he has a thick New Yorker accent. But, he is smart and he knows that his outward appearance is deceiving, which he likes.
Cohen is the prime negotiator who helped to get 52 American hostages out of Iran and to safety. For those who are curious about history, the hostage crisis arose during the Jimmy Carter administration and ended with the Ronald Regan administration, thanks to Cohen.
So what makes Cohen so different? I think for one it is his understanding of people and how he aims to treat everyone nice. He listens, he respects the opinion of others and he keeps his demeanor calm. He actually calls his demeanor “Calculated incompetence.” Sounds pretty simple actually.
Cohen has it figured out, not judging is not only good for everyday life, but also in business.
“You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” ― Herb Cohen