Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

By looking at the face on the right, can you tell if the man is good or bad? I wouldn’t want to even make a guess. Who am I to judge anyone anyway. How often have we heard the quote, “never judge a book by its cover?” And yet more often than not, when we see someone or a scenario, we tend to take pleasure and jump in quickly to judge the person or the scenario. I guess it is only human nature and it takes years of practice before one can learn to see things in an objective manner.

In one of the shows which I watched previously, a father was having a conversation with his son. The father said, “If you keep looking at your feet, your scope of view will forever be around your feet only. But if you raise your head to look at the horizon, your scope of view will be magnified many times and you will have new perspective or view.

Isn’t that very true? Judging people and scenario upon first impression is like looking around one’s feet; what one see will be limited. Not to mention that one already knew the size of one’s feet. One will quickly jump to the conclusion that one knows everything that one needs to know already.

However, when one reminds oneself that he/she could be wrong, one immediately move into the horizon view. Now there is more information that one needs to process and one’s eventual conclusion will be of more depth and completed.

A few years back I was first enlightened about this from the book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey (I hope my memory didn’t fail me). In one part of the book, a scenario described of a man in a train on a certain day and sitting near to him was a father and his son. The boy was making a terrible racket in the train but his father just sat beside his son quietly without stopping him.

The man finally lost it and asked the father to discipline the boy and to prevent him from creating so much noise in the train. The father said, “I very sorry that my boy is creating such a terrible racket in the train. The boy’s mother just passed away and he didn’t know how to handle it.

What do you think was the reaction of the man? Just like how you have reacted probably. So we can see that an understanding was reached in this scenario and somehow the terrible racket that the boy was creating seems somewhat more bearable.

I have been using this story to remind myself to be more understanding and to always do my best to look at things from a telescopic view.

Have you ever been in such a situation whereby you misunderstood someone or jump immediately to the conclusion, only to realize it later that you were actually wrong? Please feel free to share with me and enlighten me from my ignorance.

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25 thoughts on “Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

  1. Sam

    Hi BK,

    Rarely, you know what since I know how to read body language and facial expression. To the people that I doubted on the first meeting it end up that I am right about my impression to them. But still I gave a lot of benefit of the doubt, I wanted to look at them in a broader and different view.

    Have a great day!

    Sams last blog post..Constipation

  2. A Grateful Heart

    I would say during my teen years, I was very picky with friends and associates… after a while, I was thinking of being so isolated coz I’ve limited my perceptions. Then, I’ve learned to separate myself from others and in that way, I became more tolerant, more forgiving and nonjudgmental… and you’re right, it takes a lot of practice:)

    A Grateful Hearts last blog post..Marriage Creed

  3. Penny

    That is a great story, I think I will try and remember it too. Since going to university I started to realise I shouldn’t judge people so quickly. I still do it, but I feel I’m getting better.

  4. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Dorothy, indeed this can be quite a thoughtful subject.

    @ Sam, it is great that you know how to read body language and facial expression. In that way you may make less mistake. However, sometimes we can fall into the ‘trap’ that we set for ourselves. It is good that you give others a lot of benefit of doubt. 🙂

    @ Shawie, that is part of growing up I guess. I remember a quotation, “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.” I am glad that, from your own experience, you have learnt to be more tolerant, more forgiving and nonjudgmental. I have a lot to learn from you. 🙂

    @ Penny, hey it is great to see you here again. No one learns to walk on day one, we have to learn along the way. It really takes practice. I know you will eventually look at people and circumstances objectively. 🙂

  5. iWalk

    Hi BK, You tell me a truth which I never think over carefully before.

    I was a person who easy be misleaded by first impression, though I know I can’t believe the first impression.

  6. jakill

    It’s true. We should not always judge things at face value. Many of the stories in the media mislead us because of what is left out.

    Now I’m afraid I’ve tagged you, so I hope you’re not unhappy about that. Please check it out at my blog.

    jakills last blog post..Another Tag

  7. VanillaSeven

    Very insightful Bk,
    It reminded me, when I sat on the train and stare at other passenger’s baby in front of me. When the baby smiled at me, I can’t help not to smile back.
    It would be nice if all people have a mentality of a baby, no false judgment by the look.

    VanillaSevens last blog post..Purple Daisy, Gerbera

  8. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ iwalk, we are all learning to be a better person everyday. Thank you for passing the award to me. 🙂

    @ Jakill, this is what some media loves to do; to capture the most exciting while leaving out some of it which they thought not news worthy. I remember once when I was in Philippines and there was a strike going on in the place where I was staying. Back home the strike was broadcasted in the news and families were calling us to make sure we were alright. Guess what? We were not even aware there was a strike happening just a few street away from us.

    Thank you for the tag, it is truly my honor that you have chosen me out of so many blogs out there. Pardon me that I would not be joining in this tag. I hope that you would forgive me for that.

    @ Vanilla, it would certainly be good if everyone can have the mentality of the baby; so we can learn again to treat each other with respect and love. 🙂

    @ M, thank you for passing an award to me. 🙂

  9. Shinade

    Hi BK,
    If I am face to face with the person I usually don’t have any problem at all.

    However, I have to admit that some times, yes, if a statement is made in an email or a comment on my blog, some times I am quick to think the worst.

    I always think they are being critical of me. I really have to fight this.

    Fantastic post….really makes you stop and think!

    I hope you’re having a lovely weekend:-)

  10. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Shinade, I agree with you that face to face is easier. In an email or comment, I tend to jump immediately to conclusion and think the worst too. But there were a lot of time when I reread the email or comment repetitively and I realised the email or comment might not be its intending message which I thought in the first place.

  11. aldon @ orient lodge

    Off Topic, warning:

    When I visit your site, McAfee warns me that you site has the Exploit-IFrame.gen.c Trojan on it. I get the same message when I access the page via either Firefox or Google.

    My guess is that it is from the ‘New Yahoo! Personals 6 Month Guarantee: ‘ which looks like a very suspect link.

    Please, check over your site to make sure that you don’t have any trojans.

    aldon @ orient lodges last blog post..25 things about my friends In a Word Cloud

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Aldon, thank you for informing me that. I have found out the problem this morning and am trying to rectify it now but I can’t seem to find any information at Google to remove this threat. I just hope it will not affect all users to this website.

      1. Symphony of Love Post author

        I have noticed a string of weird code found in one of my blog files and deleted it away. It seems to be alright now. Please let me know if anyone of you are still having virus alert from your Anti-virus software when you are accessing my site. Thank you and very sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.

  12. Qupid

    Very nice blog! The story about the grieving boy was a good example of how unexpected circumstances can catch us off guard. In light of this, we might respond to a child’s obnoxious behavior by asking why they’re acting that way, rather than assuming they simply need to be scolded. Children become second class citizens all too often, expected to play the role of an adult when they still need to be nurtured. I think there are certain red flags about people that you can rely on, which might considered part of the cover. Maybe the saying should be, “Use consideration when judging a book.” Sometimes a proposition occurs, and you have to make a judgment without having much information.

    Qupids last blog post..Can You Say, "I Love You" Too Much?

  13. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Qupid, indeed there could be time when judgement needed to be passed without much information. I have always used this to remind myself, “who am I to judge?”

  14. aldon @ orient lodge

    My virus scan software isn’t reporting a problem anymore, so I suspect you’ve managed to fix the problem. On top of that, I did a little reading on the trojan. It appears as if it only affects people that follow some specific link. I couldn’t figure out what link it was on your site, but I suspect that your readers probably didn’t get infected by this.

    Thanks for looking at it right away.


    aldon @ orient lodges last blog post..Random Stuff.

  15. Tomas

    Thank you for the wonderful reminder of the timeless wisdom: “Never Judge a Book by Its Cover”. It transfered me into the wonderland… Unfortunately, the reality forces me to face the existence in the cover. I say so, because I am the disabler … consequently, while being the needless to this world, I dare to talk about the need to recognize oneself in other.

    In other words, when people enter the art showroom an rejoice at a colorful canvas, the life circumstances of the artist have no impact on them, but when an artist go shopping for his daily bread, the talks about the timeless values help a little to him.
    Maybe I too will become recognized after the death, but I don’t want to wait for so long. Let me invite you to my online art galleries (to my blogs) already now. Just click on the links … and all other my locations on web. I hope you will have a good time with my artworks and I will get your precious feedback. Thank you.

    Tomass last blog post..while driving home

  16. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Tomas, like what Gandhi said, “be the change we want to see in the world,” the change must start from us. The challenge is we cannot prevent others from judging us and others. We can only hope to influence them to eventually take this timeless value as part of them. I truly believe that you can bridge these people through your artwork. Just as what I read in a book, ‘Make the Impossible Possible :’ “Art is a bridge. It connects you wider world, to a broader experience.”

  17. Chelle

    Great story…so many times we don’t remember or realize that other people may have other things going on that cause them to do things.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Chelle, I think the problem is more often than not, when we get irritated with the situation, we get pretty jumpy and quick to react without thinking. Next time we can take time out and hopefully we can see things from a different light.