Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Quick to Dismiss

You’ll never know what you’re missing out on.

My sister twisted off the cap and poured herself a glass of the thick, murky liquid. I was still trying to figure out what it was as she started sipping at it and closing her eyes in relaxed bliss. I told her it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen in a glass.

“Hey—don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.”

She was right. I retrieved another (much smaller) glass from the cupboard, poured myself a sample, and tasted the concoction. I then filled my glass and sat down to chat as we nursed our drinks. The stuff was delicious!

Looking at the ingredients to Odwalla’s Superfood, you’d think they put every green food into a blender and saw what came out. It looks absolutely vile, but it’s both delicious and nutritious.

It’s a great reminder to not be too hasty to judge.

Photo courtesy of © Colter Reed

I couldn’t tell you the number of times my parents asked us “how do you know you won’t like it if you don’t try it?” It was always rhetorical. They didn’t want an answer. “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is the same principle.

It’s easy to think of this in terms of food—it’s why I’ve tried snails, haggis, and crickets—but it applies to anything: interpretive dance, TV shows, and skydiving.

Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss:

  • You assume your uninformed opinion is better than the informed opinion of another. I hadn’t tried Superfood; my sister had. I wasn’t really in a position to discuss it with her if I wasn’t willing to try it. She knew what she was talking about; I was merely guessing.
  • First impressions are often wrong. Superfood looks like pond scum. It’s thick, green, and slimy. Additional information and experience can show us where our initial impressions and assumptions were wrong.
  • You close yourself off from new experiences. Don’t assume anything new and unusual is going to be unpleasant. That contributes to a negative view of the world and makes you cynical.
  • You let fear have the last word. Fear says different is uncomfortable, and therefore bad. Fear says you’ve already discovered anything worth discovering. Fear says you’re going to regret it. Tell fear to put a sock in it.

Not every experience will be a pleasant one. A couple months ago, I tried chicken feet. I wasn’t able to finish the helping and I doubt I’ll ever try them again, but I was open to trying them and don’t regret it for a minute.

I’m not advocating against common sense, nor am I saying you shouldn’t take a principled stand when appropriate. Some things are obviously wrong, dangerous, or indicate poor judgement and don’t need to be verified personally.

For everything else, overcome your fears, be adventurous, and try something different. You won’t like everything you try, but for the wonderful things you discover, you’ll be glad you did.

About

Colter writes software and blogs about personal growth and productivity. He lives in Silicon Valley (California) with his wife and children, recently took up golf, and watches mostly British TV shows.

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