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Preformed Opinions

 article about Preformed Opinions

This article belongs to Life's Like This column.


Preformed opinions often form the crux of our decision making. First impression is the last impression, we say, but this often would lead to sinister good judgements.

Recently, our company recruited more than two dozen engineering graduates on probation. Their competency and skills were tested at regular intervals. After the completion of the training period, when asked the reason for his dismal performance in the tests by our CEO, the trainee pointed out his marks in the first test where he scored the lowest. He said, the examiners judged him to be a weak performer by this his first mistake, and thereafter evaluated his papers keeping this false view in mind, and hence said he had performed low. Our CEO supported the trainee's view. He said that a person with the ability to analyse this far of his poor performance, and who can come to a conclusion on such an issue, can very rarely be a poor performer. The trainee was later selected.

Our CEO, who was once a mariner(the Captain of a ship), also explained his reason. He said he too had suffered from Preformed Opinions. In his graduation days, he used to score average marks in one of his papers, albeit, he performed well. when his friend, who used to top the class, asked him the reason, he said Preformed Opinions were to blame. However, his friend disagreed with him. Upon not meeting consensus on this issue, they decided to find out the truth themselves. His friend agreed to allow our CEO to copy during the examination. That way, both would have the same content. Either they should get caught for malpractice when their paper was evaluated, or both should get the same marks, was what our CEO told him. The mission was completed as planned. The topper raised his eyebrows upon receiving the evaluated paper. He had scored a 17, while our CEO scored 12, in spite of the fact that not only was the content the same, our CEO had also corrected some spelling errors while copying the paper from the topper.

About a month ago, I was let intrigued when I read, in a daily, that the Ramayana was actually Mythological. I googled to find the details and found that it was indeed mythological. Preformed opinions again?

Take the recent talk. I got a vibe when I read that Dumbledore, who is my favourite character in the Harry Potter book series, was Gay. I remember getting a slight hint a week before, however, when I was reading through the chapter in the final book that speaks about his relationship with another character named Grindewald. I said, "Hey! How could that be possible?". But reading it in the newspaper changed my view.

Intuitions can manoeuvre you to the right path. But we tend to follow what is already formed in our minds. The world changes and people keep changing. Forming opinions in our minds can lead to biasing and unpalatability when we find things arent the way it seemed to us to be. However, updating these opinions regularly based on the inputs we get, will help in Good decision making, which is lethal for success in today's world and is one of the traits of a great Leader.


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