Making a decision? Take time to exercise your judgment.

One form of exercise we regularly get is from ‘jumping’ to conclusions! We get a glimpse here, listen to a word there… and our busy minds build up a whole story. But if we want the truth rather than a mere story, the kind of exercise we require is different. We should collect all the information and data, and then exercise our caution, logic, judgment and spirit of enquiry.

When it is pitch dark, the glow-worms and the fire-flies make a pretty picture as they dance. Then the stars come out and the light from the little creatures grows dim. The moon rises and sends the starlight to bed. And, just as you are thinking, “Ah, this is it”… lo and behold, there is the sun rising in the eastern sky.

How foolish it would have been to go stumbling about by the light of a couple of fireflies! The starlight and moonlight are better, but they throw such deep shadows that we can lose our footing, and a passing cloud may blot out the light altogether. Much better is to wait for the sun to come up, so that we can see our way clearly.

It’s rarely that we have to make split-second decisions with no time to find out more. In most cases, we will benefit by taking the time to find out things and think them through. How sad it would be if a student taking an exam were to read just a couple of words of a question and assume the rest! By taking the time and trouble to ‘get the big picture’ we would:

- avoid misjudging people and ruining relationships

- avoid making impulsive decisions and regretting them later

- improve our logical thinking and judgment

- be better informed and wiser

It is also important to remember that when the truth does emerge, we should accept it and not try to ‘dress it up’ to suit our own wishful thinking or our prejudices. After all, when the big picture is revealed in full sunlight, why should we put on rose-tinted spectacles to look at it?

The writer is a science writer. Email: