Judging Others — So Convenient, So Disastrous
This post was originally published on TheValdasBlog.
I would really impress myself if, starting today, I stopped judging others. No matter how much I think, I shouldn’t judge people or complain, I am always falling in the same trap over and over again. The time has come to find an antidote.
Does judging make me stronger?
Does it bring me closer to my goals?
Am I happier when I judge?
No, No, and No.
Sometimes I get an impression that human brain is hardwired to judge and complain. If you think this is not true, just open a news website and scroll through anonymous comments (particularly true in Lithuania). You won’t find a single comment of mine, but that doesn’t prove I am always positive. The sources of antipathetic thoughts vary from situation to situation, but it doesn’t matter. What is important though, is the fact that I spend minutes or even hours dwelling on a situation, thinking how stupid or irresponsible someone is.
Here are a few conversations I held with myself the past week:
-Why is he driving like that?
-He is a jackass.
-Why do informatics teachers not teach programming at school?
-They don’t care about children’s future.
-Why are people using loan shark services?
-They are irresponsible.
I hadn’t found a solution to a problem. I hadn’t taken any action. But I felt obligated to define and describe others.
These were bold statements of which I am ashamed now.
WHY IS JUDGING OTHERS AND COMPLAINING BAD FOR US?
If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out … Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier. ― Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch, an American professor of computer science, delivered an inspirational last lecture: “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment. Randy was fightings with cancer. If anyone had the right to judge and complain, it was him. But he didn’t. He made a change instead. Next time you want to complain, consider how you might turn it into something productive.
CHALLENGE — A RUBBER BAND
I want to get rid of this destructive habit. What solutions can I borrow from others?
Will Bowen designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his followers with a challenge: go 21 days without complaining. Each time one of them complained, they had to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and start again from day 0. Many got rid of their bad habits using Will’s approach: Tim Ferriss, Nicole Pajer.
I am not going to buy any expensive bracelet, no way! A simple rubber band should be enough, but no slapping! Instead, I want to have it to remind myself of the importance of staying positive. I look like a weirdo with that thing on my wrist, but it’s for a higher purpose.
EXPERIMENT — RADICAL HONESTY
A rubber band is just a part of it. Another piece of the puzzle is this blog post. I got fascinated by an article on radical honesty — I Think You’re Fat. The author, instead of figuring out how to hedge, spin or message difficult topics, decided to tell the truth. This approach is 99 percent guaranteed to get you slapped or worse. But it might initiate a powerful transformation.
Here is my truth: Have we met before? I might have judged you. I can’t promise it won’t happen again. Sorry.
DON’T JUDGE. GIVE A HAND
It is so convenient to judge others, though so disastrous. It sucks the energy out and causes a moral hangover. There is only one moment when we can look down on someone.