Monday, June 10, 2013

Living without judgement

I would much rather be scheming disruptive technologies that merit consideration by Google X or plotting the next big iPhone app (ok I am getting ahead of myself! But I got your attention didn't I?!) Instead, I waste time judging myself and others. I have therefore decided to save time for intellectual pursuits by living life without judgement. The idea has always appealed to me, but practise it, I have not. When I recently decided to do something about it, I began by noticing my tendency to make flippant remarks, laden with judgement of myself and others, which were intended to be funny but where the humour was completely lost on the audience and words hung in dead air.

I also realized that I engaged in small talk to fill awkward silences. And I filled them with criticisms of all things minor or major, albeit impersonal. "The weather is lousy.. that restaurant was great but the service was slow.. I love City x but hate City y". I purposely searched out themes that people would agree with me on. I scored on the approval front, but let the conversation degrade with the other person playing along in the same vein.

The worst kind of judgement I have indulged in, is of others, as dull, incompetent, conniving, selfish, fat, controlling etc. I am by no means unique because in most company such remarks are open season. As a society , we thrive on such behaviour because it makes us feel superior and better, strokes our ego and vitiates our need to do anything deserving of high honours or praise. After all, are we not perfect already with no room for improvement, while everyone around us is flawed, inadequate and lacking?

Judgement not only stunts our personal growth, it stunts the growth of others- most of whom are not strong or mature enough to challenge others' view of themselves. They actually live up to others' judgement of them - maybe as a self-fulfilling prophecy? Also, it limits how we interact with one another given the assumptions and stereotypes our conversations emanate from. Would it not be great if all our lives were lived with no judgement but with pure intellectual curiosity? Where, we came into and left situations with no expectations, just compassion and attentiveness? Where we were scrupulously aware of what we said to one another and of our body language and cues as we observed each other? Where we could all be unselfconscious, safe and at home around each other?

How then do I plan to achieve this?

For starters, I have been receiving solicited and unsolicited advice on what I have done, its impact on others and what I need to change. Second, I have observed my compulsion to talk for the sake of talking and practised the Zen art of listening instead. Last but not least, I am cultivating open minded, honest and courageous living where I do not consciously expect anything , judge anyone or seek the approval of others!

No comments: