Bottom Line Up Front: Judging others is exhausting. It says more about you than the other man. It delays your own growth and success. Judging others blinds you and wastes time. Judging others makes you repellent. Judging others actually hurts you. So, decide today: “From this day forward I judge no man.”
You can’t see right when you’re doing wrong.
My mentor has said many wise things. One of my favorites is, “You can’t see right when you’re doing wrong.” One wrong many of us do is to judge others. Judging others blinds us to our own faults. Now, it’s human nature to do things we should not do and we all do things we should not do, so judging others is doubly dangerous. Doing wrong impairs our ability to see right and wrong, so we have no business judging. It blurs our vision. We justify what we do, even as we do it, because men really are very consistent. This explains why there’s so much pain around us. It’s like we’re all blind and running with scissors, bumping into each other. And, of course, we rationalize. Rationalizing our bad actions is far more exhausting than changing our bad actions to be consistent with how we should be. Here’s why: the hard work of improving energizes us, when we degrade it exhausts us. Over time, if we don’t correct our bad actions, we kill our conscience, then we have no compass to direct us and we are lost.
So, don’t be hard on human frailty. Oddly, it’s what unites us.
Tricky, sticky stuff.
So, what do I say of someone who is such a mess? “Well, he’s not perfect like I am.”
Once you resolve not to judge any man, try embracing your new discipline for two weeks. If you can do that—and I know you can— you will see how frequently others judge. Here’s the trick—don’t even judge them. Judging is a bad habit many of us have. What to say when a man criticizes another man? You can always take refuge in eloquent silence, but one good response: “Well, he’s not perfect like we are.” Another: “Well, he probably has a lot on his mind.” This is tough stuff. It’s hard to do, but once you commit never to criticize, condemn or complain, you’ll start to see things you never saw and you’ll say things you’ve never said. Good things.
What about judging his character? How do I evaluate a potential business partner or friend, mentor?
If judging is absolutely necessary, so be it, but do it this way—judge without being judgmental. Judge the actions, but not the man. Judge the results kindly, but not his motivation and be careful not to discount him as a man. It’s funny, isn’t it, that we justify ourselves by what we intend, but judge others by their results. Make that critical distinction between what he does and who he is, but give him the benefit of the doubt. In all cases, remember that if we see a fault in someone else it’s because we ourselves share that fault. So, the next time I am tempted to call a man a liar, or a cheat, or a coward, I should ask myself, “How is it that I know these qualities so well?” And, tellingly, “How does this reflect on me that I find fault in him?”
Call to Action: Decide today never to judge a man again. Re-commit to that decision—can you do it in writing? — every day for the next two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, check your progress. Then… do it again as often as necessary to make it part of your character. You’ll be glad you did and so will all who know you.