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Want Great People In Your Life? Stop Making Snap Judgments

Making quick judgments about certain behaviors can mean removing some otherwise great people from your inner circle. (And why Kyle Busch’s nickname should be “Lightning Rod.”)

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BY Jeff Haden - 22 Aug 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

If you don't know anything about motor racing you may not know that Kyle Busch is widely considered the most talented driver in NASCAR -- if forced to bet my life on the outcome of one race, Kyle is the driver I would pick, regardless of the track.

And if you don't know anything about motor racing you may not know Kyle is basically the KISS of NASCAR. There's no middle ground: Fans either love him or despise him.

In fact, while his nickname is "Rowdy," Kyle attracts so much attention and criticism that maybe it should be "Lightning Rod." ("Lightning Rod" actually works on multiple levels: He's incredibly quick and his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is definitely a hot rod....)

If you're Kyle hater, maybe you point to the swing he took at Joey Logano after a race as the reason. Or because he says what other people won't, like when he didn't like the tires Goodyear brought to a certain track. Or because he's an occasional inspiration for memes.

Add all that up and you could see why some people don't like him. Some take their feelings waaay too far. (To the guy who yelled at and then got physical with Kyle after the Bristol race: There's a time and a place for everything, and you found neither.)

So does all that mean you should not like Kyle?

Before you answer, consider this.

After trying for years to have a child, Kyle and his wife Samantha turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF), a complex assisted reproductive technology with a solid success rate that comes, for many, with a prohibitively high cost.

After their son Brexton was born, Kyle and Samantha started the Bundle of Joy Fund, a charitable organization that provides in-need families with monetary awards to help offset the cost of infertility treatments. Four years later the Bundle of Joy Fund has distributed almost $400,000. Fourteen children have been born, with two more on the way.

And that led to the Fund's first play date attended by many of those kids and their families.

Consider the image above. Those kids likely would not be here without the Bundle of Joy Fund. Those couples probably would not be parents.

Try to place a value on that. You can't.

And Kyle and Samantha helped make it happen.

So does all that mean you should like Kyle?

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Either way, it doesn't matter.

Unless you're a NASCAR fan, how you feel about Kyle makes no difference in your life, or his. You'll likely never interact with Kyle, so any time spent considering how you feel about him is wasted.

But where your time is never wasted is when you consider the people you do spend time with.

One mistake, or one weakness, or one personality quirk -- just like one kind word, or one nice gesture, or one moment of grace -- does not a whole person make, yet it's very easy to view a person through that one lens. Besides the fact our current social environment encourages hot takes, extreme opinions, and quick judgments, we're also wired that way.

Plus, we're all prone to fundamental attribution error, the reflex assumption that what someone does is motivated by who they are and not the situation they happen to be in.

It's easy to focus on an employee's occasional diva-like behavior... and forget he's an incredible engineer. It's easy to focus on how a freelancer's vampire-style work hours negatively affect team communication... and forget that she's a superstar programmer.

On the flip side, it's easy to forget that a friend has all the time in the world when he needs something... yet never finds time when you do. Just like it might be easy to forget, when you see Kyle channel his inner Marshawn Lynch, that he's also helped to make a tremendous difference in many lives.

Every person in your life is the sum of his or her parts. To have the right people in your life, make sure to consider as many factors in that equation as you possibly can.

Otherwise you may keep a few that do nothing more than drag you down... and discard a few who actually make your life better.

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