Many years ago, on a visit to my favourite barber, I asked him for a ‘Dil Chahta hai’ haircut. The film was had just released and I had seen promotional posters with the three lead actors sporting short hairdos. He immediately asked, ‘‘which actor’s style?’ I calmly retorted, ‘they are all the same!’
He promptly pulled out a film magazine with a poster of the film… and he was able to show me the difference in the three styles. I realized that while I had seen the image only superficially, my friend had looked at the same image with a deep discerning insight!
‘Discerning’ is an adjective that comes from the Old French discerner, meaning to ‘distinguish (between), separate (by sifting).’ Which makes sense, because someone with discerning tastes or a discerning eye is good at distinguishing the variety and noticing the distinctness even in things that seem to be from the same set.
Discerning people pick up on subtle traits and are good judges of quality — they're the ones who can tell if the cakes are homemade from the finest ingredients or totally from a box mix. They can make better choices as they are better informed by their ability to observe the details. They choose to be learners with an open mind.
Often, we jump to opinions and conclusions based on surface insights. We end up becoming know all experts without really being so. Discerning persons have keen insight and good judgement because they have the attitude of observing without jumping to conclusions. They are able to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and judiciously.
It is so wonderful to be able to discern
Indeed it is the only way to truly learn!
- Pravin K. Sabnis