Is Learned Behavior the Same As Bias?

Over winter break, I thought a lot about how I think about people and their behavior and found myself wondering - if I act based on someone’s past behavior, is that biased? 

 

I love to promote growth and learning, but sometimes there are people who refuse to take part in becoming a better person. I’ve dealt time and again with those kinds of people and it’s frustrating; I often times find myself treating them differently because of the ways I know they act and react. For example, I’ve chosen many times to cut people out of my life rather than try to reach an understanding with them because I know they won’t change without a radical action. 

 

However, when this transfers into more professional situations, it feels more like bias. For example, if I know someone has consistently had below standard work as well as a bad work ethic, I won’t expect them to create something worthwhile. Sometimes, though, I find myself surprised because they actually end up making something good. 

 

I try often to keep an open mind, but it’s hard when people constantly let me down. I don’t think I have an answer to this dilemma, but I do think it’s something to consider when I find myself acting on preconceived notions.