We encounter people in life who give us – with the best of intentions – advice and counsel that is inherently biased. In the 1967 movie, The Graduate, we find Mr. McGuire (actor Walter Brooke) giving recent college graduate, Benjamin Braddock (actor Dustin Hoffman) some advice about his future:

Most of us have experience or some sort of personal reference to look back on where we have given advice (or perhaps have taken action) that, due to our own experiences or set of circumstances, we may have (likely) given biased advice or made a biased decision. We’re sometimes blinded by our own interests. Occasionally, we have a clear conflict of interest or a strong and well-formed bias in mind. That type of issue is fairly easy to resolve: acknowledge the bias or conflict of interest and give the advice, make the judgment call, or take the action. Clear conscience. There’s a darker path. Keep the conflict or bias secret. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Less clarity of intent risks less trust.

Situations dealing with clear or certain bias or conflict of interest are less troubling than the “blinded” version. As I mentioned earlier, we are sometimes blinded by our own interests. Our clear thinking is clouded. In the blinded, or clouded, state, we are more susceptible to both errors of ignorance (mistakes because we don’t know enough; we don’t ask enough questions, we don’t dig a little deeper) and errors of ineptitude (mistakes because we don’t make proper use of what we know; cloudy, biased, assumptive thinking).

We should try not to trust our own intuition too much. Let’s not be victims of societal bias: our society tends to favor a person of action over a person of contemplation. I’m not against action and I’m certainly not for “analysis paralysis.” Why does it have to be either/or?

When we understand that we’ve “gone wrong” we open the door to fix things, make a positive difference, and get better at getting better.

Think about it.

In Other Words…

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” – Vincent van Gogh

“A wise man changes his mind, a fool never.” –  Spanish proverb

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” – Aristotle

“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.”
– John Milton, Paradise Lost

“When our Lord says, we must be converted and become as little children, I suppose he means also, that we must be sensible of our weakness, comparatively speaking, as a little child.” – George Whitefield

“… even if there is no showing of actual bias … , this Court has held that due process is denied by circumstances that create the likelihood or the appearance of bias.” – Peters v. Kiff , 407 U.S. 493 at 502 (1971)

In The Word…

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? ” – James 4:1