My assistant walked into my office this morning spotting a light brownish gold top with faint gold spots, on a free flowing dashing red skirt. Cool outfit for a Friday casual, but as I looked up, my first impression was “what in heaven’s name!” yet two things made me clamp my tongue from blotting out, “jeez girl, are you having a wardrobe crisis?”  First was that I hate making people feel bad, and if I can help it I always choose the course that won’t. Two was that my assistant has an above average sense of style (you have to, to work with me), and would normally not break a fashion police law. So instead of criticising, I take a second look at the outfit, that’s when I realised my error. My first mistake was that I looked at each piece of clothing separately, not together as they were worn, and number two, I observed only the base colour of the outfits, not including the prints and patterns. On a closer look, I realise that both the top and skirt were woven with different designs but same colour of complementary gold patterns, which made a lovely combination. A closer look saved me from premature judgment, and putting my dexterous fashion sense under question if I had condemned the dress. So like the savvy guy that I am, I ended up giving her a smile and saying “lovely outfit”. She blushed slightly and gave me a sweet smile like a proper lady should, and I knew we would have a good day at the office.

Life is sometimes like a mirage you see in the hot desert, at first it looks like you see water, but when you look closer, you see there is nothing but bone dry and desert sand. If you go ahead and blurt out everything you see, without thinking about it, or make decisions without reaffirming your information, you would find yourself in a lot of wild fires. Things are rarely what they look like, and they are seldom how they appear. A couple holding hands walking down the road could be lovers on a stroll, they could also be a brother and sister taking a walk, or even a friend helping a blind friend down the street. Only a fool rushes into judgment on a situation he knows nothing about. Yet every day we keep making conclusions on matters we know little or nothing about. As we pass along the highway and see an accident involving a lady and a man, the chauvinist on his way to work will lament “I have said they should not let women drive, they cause unnecessary havoc” the feminist in a passing bus will raise a war cry “they are always trying to intimidate women, see what they have done to this lovely lady” while the complete nonentity will start “this texting while driving has not killed enough people”. Meanwhile what really happened was that the two cars swerved into each other while trying to avoid a dog that ran into the road.

Premature judgment quenches the fire of intelligence faster than ignorance. When Solomon said “you won’t know the difference between a fool and a wise man if he keeps quiet” and “a fool can pass for a wise person until he opens his mouth and his folly shows…” he was trying to say that stupidity is not written on the face. Consequently, you won’t know the difference between an intelligent and ignorant person, when the would-be intelligent person rushes to draw conclusions based on incomplete premise.  The best way to avoid a mistake and the possibility of eating your words is to delay an opinion for as long as you can, till you are convinced by proof that you know what you are talking about. We advise if you are angry to count to ten in your mind before you reply, I also suggest, before you make a claim, count more than ten. Every matter or situation is made up of context, and it is the context that gives the scene you witness its meaning. The couple walking down the road, who are they? What is their relationship? Where are they going? Why are they holding hands?... context!  If you go around shooting off opinions and taking positions on situations, scenarios, topics, and matters you have incomplete knowledge of or you lack contextual accuracy about, then you are setting yourself up for an embarrassment. 
As I write this, I didn’t have a good day in the office after all, I quarrelled with my assistant, who in as much a polite term as she could muster called me a ‘know it all’. I guess a lady’s smile is meant for the moment, you should enjoy it when it’s given. So as I reflect on how much premature judgements I must have dished out over the years and repent of them, I think you should do the same. As for my assistant, I shall think of an ‘all knowing’ punishment for her.

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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