In 7 seconds you have been judged!

It only takes 7 seconds for someone to judge you

7 Seconds is the average time it takes for someone to judge you and make up their mind about you. This is what several researches have revealed.  How often do we judge a situation or a person by giving a meaning only to realise later that we were wrong?  

« I was sitting in a subway, when a man came in with two of his children. He sat down and his two children stood. His children were restless, running around the carriage and fighting while disturbing everyone. I was stunned to see the man looking down and not even seeming to care about his children's actions. The children pushed an old man, causing him to drop his bag. The man let his children do it and was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn't care about them at all. I wondered what kind of model of the world he must have to let his children make their own laws.

"But can you tell me what's going on in your head?

            Have you ever wondered what goes on in people's heads to act the way they do? Have you ever asked that universal question: "What went on in his head to make him..."? Follow me carefully, because you will discover the universal mechanisms of our mind. When I tell this story at conferences and seminars, some people tell me that his children must have been hyperactive and that the father did not know how to deal with them. When I ask if listeners have experienced similar stories, some tell me similar stories where they have observed unruly children acting out without the parents intervening. So I tell them, as I tell you, that Stephen Covey's story did not end there. Stephen was outraged at the way the father ignored the behaviour of these two children: 

"I couldn't take it any more, so I walked over to the man and told him the situation. He lifted his head slowly and looked at his children, then looked at me with a look of sadness and said in a hoarse, emotional voice: "Excuse me! Maybe I should call them to order. You know, maybe they are living their emotions in their own way. I saw his eyes fill with water as he looked me directly in the eye and said, "You know sir, we've just come from the hospital...just two hours ago their mothers died of cancer!

How did you experience this story?

Did your experience change just by reading the last line? If so, you went through a process of changing your interpretation of the event, which we also call Reframing. At the beginning of the story, you filtered your experience using certain criteria and probably made a value judgment about it. When you read the last line, you re-evaluated your representation of the experience and from this new framework, you changed the criteria of this experience and evaluated their behaviours under a new framework, thus changing your internal state and way of thinking, is that right?

(1) Story told by Steven Covey in a seminar.

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