A Blind Man Should Not Judge Colors

In coun­tries with a high affin­i­ty for soc­cer, there usu­al­ly live as many soc­cer coach­es as there are male inhab­i­tants above 6 years. They watch the game and feel inclined as well as empow­ered not only to crit­i­cise but to come up with smash­ing pro­pos­als for enhance­ment. 

We find the same behav­ior in other areas, such as busi­ness: imag­ine you work in the mar­ket­ing depart­ment and you’ve just come up with some cam­paign ideas. Expect to receive well-intentioned feed­back from every­body, even from col­leagues work­ing in not-so-marketing-related areas such as book-keeping.

Peo­ple form their views on basi­cal­ly any­thing they see, hear and smell. They do it imme­di­ate­ly after they have become aware of a new event or a sen­so­ry impres­sion. There is a men­tal side of this reac­tion — the thought — and a phys­i­cal side: the emo­tion. If you watch your­self nar­row­ly you’ll notice a cer­tain absolute­ness of this process: when you see some­body, that seems to result in a thought and an emo­tion, quite auto­mat­i­cal­ly.

Learn­ing

And yet, from all what we know about how our brain works, this oblig­a­tory process isn’t what it looks like. With­out dig­ging deep­er into neu­ro­science here, we know that the grade of automa­tism of form­ing your view of some­thing or some­body, is being devel­oped with your grow­ing wealth of expe­ri­ence — or — the increas­ing inabil­i­ty to asses every­thing anew, as if you haven’t seen it before. Watch­ing babies in their very first months of exis­tence, look­ing at all the new things around them, try­ing to grasp what’s going on, is a good indi­ca­tor: with­out being bur­dened with any expe­ri­ence, knowl­edge, rules, etc., they wel­come new things and new peo­ple free of prej­u­dice.

Habits

And now to our­selves: why do we judge any­thing in the very first moment we expe­ri­ence it, if we don’t have to? The answer is sim­ple: we have got used to it. To label, inter­pret and to assess every­thing has become so nat­ur­al that we we don’t real­ize that we would not have to do it. We even think that these judge­ments are some uncon­di­tion­al bio­chem­i­cal process­es.
Babies are approached with open­ness and love (at least as long as they don’t cry). Why is that? First, babies arouse pro­tec­tive instincts in adults. And sec­ond, babies them­selves approach any adult in a com­plete­ly unbi­ased way. As an adult, you real­ize that you could befriend this lit­tle tyke if you want­ed.

Judg­ing

Not to judge, giv­ing up assess­ments of things, sit­u­a­tions and peo­ple, seems to be one of the most crit­i­cal fac­tors of our per­son­al well­be­ing and the qual­i­ty of our social inter­ac­tions. For me, it’s quite tough not to give in and react imme­di­ate­ly, but to wait, and per­haps not to react at all. It prob­a­bly will stay a daily chal­lenge. But com­pared to the small effort it takes,the effect of this tech­nique is spec­tac­u­lar: every time I don’t judge, I get the feel­ing of hav­ing learnt some­thing new. And — in most cases — my social inter­ac­tions improve as a result. It’s like magic — every­body feels good or bet­ter, and nobody (except myself) knows why.

Don’t believe or mis­trust me — I real­ly rec­om­mend to give it a try: forego your assess­ments for just one sin­gle day. Then look at the effects. You’ll be pleas­ant­ly sur­prised.

One Reply to “A Blind Man Should Not Judge Colors”

  1. Robert Curth says:

    Thanks for the post 🙂
    The prob­lem is real­ly not the judg­ing. Judg­ing hap­pens habit­u­al­ly, as you noted. Think­ing is impos­si­ble to con­trol.
    The prob­lem is obsess­ing over thoughts. Or believ­ing in them.
    It is eas­i­er to learn to hold one’s thoughts, opin­ions, judge­ments and ideas light­ly. To reg­is­ter them but to not act.

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