Being judgmental of people around you is not BAD but just ask yourself “Is it helping me become a better person? Is it helping me make my life better?”
Personally, I have been a very judgmental person till very recently and then something happened.
I was attending a corporate conference on “Machine Learning” a few months back. I was eagerly waiting for the Keynote speech by a renowned expert on the topic (obviously). Surprisingly, when he came up and started speaking, I lost my interest in 30 seconds. Why?
- He was not a good orator
- His command over English language was not great
- He was using a lot of fillers like “you know”, “I am telling you”, “getting it?” and others
Of course, these are all my reasons. Being judgmental, I lost my focus from the content of his speech and I started focusing on things which I did not like. The next 45 minutes I was really uncomfortable, angry, irritated and also passed on some irritation to others by gossiping with colleagues sitting next to me “Disappointed”, “What a waste!” and other such statements. You can add your own favorites
Most importantly, I lost out on learning anything from the Keynote speech.
When I shared this with my friend, Chenthil, he told me to stop my act of “simultaneous criticism”. When I asked him, “what do you mean?” He said, “Listen to others without your filters. Don’t rush to criticize on the spot or else you will lose the message”.
Whoa! This struck me like a bolt of lightning!!
I realized that when I am criticizing others openly or in my mind,
- I am getting a false sense of happiness or satisfaction about being Right, Smart and a know-all person.
- I get an opportunity to look down upon others and invalidate them.
- In other situations, like in a team meeting when I criticize somebody openly or even in my mind, I get to dominate the person. Or with a boss, I avoid his domination.
- I get a false sense of Winning.
How I am operating while doing this,
- Listening with filters on. Filters are my own, interpretations are my own. But the victims are other people. Really? Or is it me who is losing out?
- I am only looking for mistakes or weaknesses in others.
- I am just boosting up my own ego.
- I create opinions about others and then frame them into those perceptions.
And what’s the impact? Am I getting anything GOOD out of this?
- I am actually feeling very negative all this while. Losing my energy and creativity.
- Suddenly I find myself “shut down” and not being able to share my thoughts openly.
- I keep thinking about my own criticism. Feeling guilty about it later.
- I distance myself unknowingly from the person who I criticize. Lose out on the relationship many a times.
So, what is the way out?
- Avoid focusing on the negative. There are positives also to focus on, always.
- Am I projecting myself onto the other person? May be.
- Am I trying to control the situation in my favour? By saying that the other person is not fit for the job and only I can do it perfectly. This could be an ego trap.
- Am I focusing too much on other people? Am I hiding something in myself? Better bet is to focus on self.
- Make a choice about how do I use my energy? By wasting it on criticising others or using that energy for self-improvement.
Finally, do I care more about being right (by my standards) and grumpy? Or being open, free and happy?
The choice is for everyone to make.
I promise, I won’t make any judgement about it