Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

What The Judge Ate For Breakfast

Every day judges make decisions about human liberty: guilty or not guilty. We like to think the decision to put someone behind bars is based on facts and the law, but it turns out judges base many rulings on their grumbling gut.

This disturbing conclusion stems from a study done on eight parole judges in Israel.

These particular speakers of justice spent entire days reviewing prisoner requests for freedom. With every hearing lasting no more than six minutes.

After watching over a 1.000 court rulings, the researchers recognised a clear pattern: approval rates peak right after a food break, at about 65%, and steadily drop to zero in time for the next meal.

So if you’re the first prisoner to stand in front of the court, your chances of being released are six times higher than the con who walks in right before lunch.

All of this is a long way of saying that tired and hungry judges are lazy.

Rather than risking freeing someone who might do something horrible, and make her look bad, the groggy judge slams her gavel down and says, “Parole denied.”

The results of this study go far beyond advising your jailbird friends about when they should request parole.

Like the judges, many of our own decisions are also haphazardly made with our guts.

Like when we should start a project. When the best time is to start a new diet. Or when the best time is to ask our boss for a raise.

Rather than just swing for the fences and hope for the best, we can actually time our shot and have a much bigger chance of reaching our goals.

We’ve already seen one guiding factor is our glucose level. Another has to do with our chronotype, are you a night owl or an early bird?

Depending on your type, you reach your peak and bottom performance levels at different times of the day. And you want to act accordingly.

The calendar also helps us navigate our goals. You’re already familiar with New Year’s resolutions.

The first day of January is like opening a fresh new ledger. With our bad behaviour left behind, we’re ready to transform into our best selves. Every New Year leads to a rise in gym memberships across the globe.

So not all dates are created equal. Even the start of a new week, month or school semester gives us the feeling of a new slate.

If you want to know more about finding the perfect timing for your ventures, read Daniel H. Pink’s latest book.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach