Listen to 11-Year Old’s - Ask Why

I was 9 years old.  I was sitting in front of the TV watching the Chicago Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds.  My dad walked up and asked me if I wanted to play little league baseball.  I immediately said “no”. 

He asked me “why”. 

I pointed to the TV and said that “I don’t want to play in front of all those people.”  As a 9-year old, my fear at the time was being judged.  After I learned that only parents and friends would be at the game, I agreed to play.  That choice lead to an amazing string of events.

Recently, I sat at a table with an 11-year old.  I asked her what she did for fun and what sort of activities she wanted to get involved with.  She talked about art, archery, ice-skating, and a few other individual type activities.  I asked her if she ever considered group activities like drama, acting, dancing or something along those lines.

She immediately said, “no” and I asked her “why”?

She said.  “I don’t want to be judged.”

We’re All Learning

As humans, we are constantly growing.  We’re constantly learning from all events, moments and influences in our lives.  In fact, there’s four stages of learning and we’re always in one of these stages regardless of what we’re learning.

  1. Unconscious Incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know.
  2. Conscious Incompetence – You realize you don’t know what you need to know.
  3. Conscious Competence – You know what to do, but you need to think first.
  4. Unconscious Competence – Everything is on reflex.  You’ve been there many times before.

Everyone’s always in a stage of learning. 

That slow driver in front of you.  They may be learning how to drive.  That guy holding up the check-out line, he may be learning how to shop.  That teacher in third grade, it may be her first-year teaching.  That boss that you’re working for, it may be the first time he’s been a boss.  That mailman who delivered the mail to the wrong house, it may be his first day on the job.

The point is that everyone is always in a state of learning.  None of us are perfect.

Next time you find yourself judging, ask yourself “what stage of learning are you in?”

It’s OK to Judge – Just be Kind

As humans, we’re wired to judge.  It’s natural and normal. 

One of our core survival instincts as humans is to feel safe.  However, this is the tricky one as no two people are the same and no two people will look at everything the same way or feel safe in every situation. 

We’ve all had different influences, moments and experiences that ultimately define what we think, what we believe and ultimately who we are.  That’s life.

How and Why we judge is what matters. 

Are we judging with ill-intent?  Are we judging to learn?  Are we judging to reward greatness?
Are we judging to understand?  Are we judging to be critical?  Are we judging to punish? 
The list goes on and on.

It’s important to pause and ask ourselves in these moments of judgement. 

  • Why am I judging? 
  • How am I judging?

It’s impossible not to judge, however, it is possible to control the choices we make and how we go about judging. 

The definition of “judging” is to form an opinion or a conclusion about something. 

The mistake we can often make is when we judge before we have gone through the process of learning.  As the leader in your life, you can either use the opportunities that come up in life as a learning experience to build yourself and others up or you can use these moments to tear others down.

Taking a moment to learn and ask yourself and others the questions that you need to ask allows you to judge kindly.

It’s OK to Have Champions

Participation in life matters.  Learning from others also matters.  Recognizing those that have gone above and beyond and have worked exceptionally hard at their craft is OK.

Celebrating the wins in life is ok.  Celebrating those that have developed a unique strength is ok.  Celebrating those that put in the hours of practice and learning is ok.  Celebrating those who are at the top of their game is ok.  It’s ok to have champions.  It’s ok to celebrate a winner.

There are events, moments and opportunities that come up in life. Sometimes we are in a position to win these moments.  Sometimes, we don’t win them.  In both cases we have the opportunity to learn from them.

When we win, we learn how to be grateful, humble and appreciative of those around us that have helped us.  When we don’t win, we learn what we need to adjust whether that is putting in more practice, getting more help or pursuing something else that’s more in alignment with our unique strengths.   

Every day you have a choice.  You can choose to simply be a participant in life or you can choose to go out and try to win the game of life.  It’s your choice to make it a life in which you feel like a champion. 

It’s OK to Celebrate Everyone

It’s a big world and no two people are the same.  Everyone is on the journey of living, learning and then living some more.  Be the leader in your life and inspire those around you to be the leader in their life.

When they are not the champion, encourage those around you to learn and then go live some more.  When you are not the champion, learn what you need to learn and go live some more. 

Life is full of opportunities to learn every day.

Be the leader in your life and celebrate those that are working on their life.

When we all assume the role as the leader in our lives and we’re confident and comfortable with who we are, we will find that we judge less and we’re in a better spot to develop a global culture of personal accountability. 

Only then, can we really begin to solve the world’s biggest problems.

Judge Kindly – It’s OK to be a good human!



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