Someone who is prejudiced tends to: (a) use unjustified analogies; (b) make unsupported statements; (c) turn reasonable statements into more extreme statements than intended; (d) treat coincidences as proof; (e) make strong use of rationalisation to justify views and beliefs they already have.
Prejudice is self reinforcing. A prejudiced person selects facts which fit in with their prejudice and ignores those that don’t. They thus remember lots of examples which reinforce their prejudice.
The way we see the world is conditioned by: (a) the age we live in; (b) our culture; (c) the language we frequently use in our daily lives (thus accountants see the world in terms of money, Freudians see the world in terms of sex symbols); (d) our own personality (greedy people believe everyone is greedy).
Just because someone is assertive/aggressive doesn’t mean they are right. Assertiveness or aggressiveness are often mistaken for strength of knowledge or the voice of authority; and modesty and tolerance attributed to weakness or ignorance. People can and often do express strong feelings about something they are wrong about.
It is important to be able to respond quickly to familiar situations, otherwise we wont have any time for anything. In responding quickly to familiar situations, we accept the risks that arise from: (a) situations being slightly different to they way we expect them; (b) misinterpreting the situations.
People tend to be lazy in their thinking, and want a ‘quiet life’. They will simply take the line of least resistance. Hence a general willingness to go along with the crowd, both in what they do and in what they think.
Recognise that people are different. Some are open, honest, and simply trying to do the best they can. Some are deceitful and only interested in themselves. Most are somewhere in-between, being one or the other to a greater or lesser extent dependent upon circumstances. It is important to recognise the differences in people, and to be able to judge which people are which to what extent in what circumstances.
Self-interest will often cloud somebodies judgement. For some people self interest will dictate almost everything they do and decide. For others it will simply implicitly bias them, though they will still try to do what they believe is right.
There are people who will take advantage. There are people who will deliberately lie and deceive. A very few people will do it frequently and at any opportunity. More will do it occasionally dependent upon particular circumstances and possibly dependent upon the mood they are in at the time. It is important you recognise the few persons who will take advantage, and the circumstances under which certain others will.
It can be a fine line between being gullible and being over distrustful. Always be on the lookout for being one or the other with respect to a given issue.
People who think of themselves as superior or naturally better than others tend not to adopt common sense approaches but merely look to impose their will. Sometimes they might be right, often they will be wrong. Clever people are particularly prone to jumping to conclusions very quickly.
People frequently criticise others for things which in fact they themselves are guilty of. This is a form of hypocrisy and arises because people see the other person’s behaviour in very narrow terms and fail to recognise the more general behaviour of which it is an example and which they themselves exhibit.
Sometimes it is best simply to put up with unjust criticism and complaint, for example: (a) when the criticism/complaint is from someone stronger and pointing out the unfairness will simply make things worse; (b) when the other person is in an emotionally charged stated, and it is better to wait until they are in a more rationale state.
If something looks like magic, it’s because you’re following the wrong line of thinking (probably encouraged by the ‘presenter’). This wrong line of thinking is one which under normal circumstances would be the most probable explanation, but in the particular case it is not.
Don’t be impressed by what you don’t understand. Fear of being seen to be ignorant, and thus pretending to understand what you don’t, will leave you exposed to accepting invalid arguments.
Never accept an argument from someone who says it will be too complex for you to understand.
Image is important. Sometimes it shouldn’t be. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is. It takes time for people to recognise competence. Image they can recognise immediately.