Maintaining Your Objectivity
Objectivity is elusive. Objectivity is the ability to see the situation accurately, without the influence of emotion, prejudice, or bias. When you’re observing, you see what is actually there. When you’re perceiving, you’re seeing more than what is actually there.
We often create turmoil with the belief that a situation should be a particular way. For example:
My boss is supposed to be supportive of me.
My ex-girlfriend should still be with me.
I should have more money than Bob.
I should have more free time.
Accept the situation and make up your mind to move forward.
Become more objective and see the truth with these techniques:
1 - Avoid quick reactions. Have you ever noticed that deer run when frightened? It’s not a thoughtful process. A deer either freezes or runs. The instinct to flee is strong. In fact, it’s so strong that deer often flee from one problem only to be struck by a car.
Reacting quickly is the result of instinct. Your boss infuriates you, so you quit. Your spouse makes a mistake, and you verbally unload on them. But reacting quickly is rarely the best option.
Take a moment to assess the situation before choosing a course of action.
2 - Consider your sensitive spots. Which topics cause you to routinely overreact? Are you easily slighted? Are you impatient? Do you hold strong political beliefs that you defend vigorously?
When you’re in situations that result in strong emotions, you’re much less likely to be objective. Notice when you’re involved in one of these situations and tread carefully.
3 - Strip away your perceptions. Take the situation at face value. Suppose you’re waiting for your friend to arrive at the movie theater. Depending on your past experiences and your personality, you might conclude:
She had a car accident.
She’s stuck in traffic.
She doesn’t respect my time.
She’s late again. I’m really going to let her have it when she gets here.
However, you can’t know any of these things until you actually speak to her. Why upset yourself when there might not be a reason to be upset? All you know is that she’s late. More helpful questions might include:
Should I call her?
Should I wait for her or go inside and buy the popcorn?
Will there still be seats available if I wait much longer?
If I continue waiting, how long should I wait?
4 - Make a list of what you know regarding the situation. You might know that your company’s earnings are down this quarter. However, you might not know that you’re going to lose your job as a result.
Before making decisions, make a list of what you know for a fact.
Then make a list of logical conclusions.
Do you feel more confident about what to do?
Finally, note your thoughts that are unsupported and tainted by your emotions and negative thought patterns.
5 - De-personalize the situation. Imagine you were giving advice to a friend or a stranger. Objectivity is easier to find when you take your ego out of the equation. Obstacles and setbacks seem smaller when they’re occurring to someone else.
Few people can rightly consider themselves to be objective. We’re all victims of our past and our erroneous thinking. It takes tremendous effort to maintain objectivity. The ability to see the truth lays the groundwork for overcoming obstacles.