I was sitting in my living room with my little son playing near the window. Suddenly, he pointed towards the sky and said ‘Daddy, look two birds flying.’ I looked through the window and saw nothing in the sky. I smiled at him and said nothing thinking he must be playing a joke with me. A couple of days later on an early evening, he again pointed towards the sky and said ‘Daddy, look birds flying in the sky.’ I looked again through the window into the sky and saw nothing. I was slightly curious; is he watching too much of those animated cartoon serials on TV? Is he imagining beyond his age? I again looked at him and smiled. My smile conveyed my acknowledgement to what he was saying but deep inside I said ‘Son, don’t play smart with me!’
A few days later I visited my doctor for a routine check-up and he suggested that I should get my eyes checked from an eye specialist. I did as per the advice and was suggested glasses by the eye doctor. I got my glasses and could feel the difference in my vision.
One fine day when I was at home, my son again pointed out of the window and said ‘Daddy, look birds flying in a row!’
I looked out of the window with my glasses and saw a fleet of birds flying forming a particular pattern. I was filled with guilt! I realised all this while my son was speaking the truth which only I was not able to see. Rather I got judgemental about him…on his intention and on his behaviour. It taught me an important lesson that day; never be too quick on judging others!
When an event takes place in our life, we interpret it in our own way and then form an impression or opinion about the person related to that event. But often that interpretation is coloured by our own beliefs and prejudices. And it is also a fact that often that interpretation is mired with negative thoughts. Our first reaction is somehow to blame others or to find fault in others.
Some examples from our day to day life; often we feel insulted or take an offence just because- how someone looked at us, how someone turned his or her face while we were looking at them, someone did not respond to our messages or calls or for that matter my friend did not wish me on my birthday and so on…we immediately jump to a conclusion about how bad or evil the other person is towards us. Without giving it any thought, we just brandish that person in poor light. In the hindsight, did you ever consider how many times you behaved in a similar fashion? Did your intention was to offend or insult the other person?
I believe the best way to be non-judgemental is to give the benefit of the doubt to the other person. We need to change our thought process and believe the nobility of the other person. Or if someone has behaved badly with us then there must have been some compelling reasons for that person to display such unusual behaviour. Remember, each one of us is struggling in life with our jobs, responsibilities, family pressure, and desire to have more and more wealth and materialistic possessions and other unfulfilled desires. It only tends to generate more frustrations and as a result, erupt out in the form of undesired behaviour. What then? As I said earlier, we need to give the benefit of doubt to the other person! And also show some empathy. So, the next time someone zig-zag past you on a busy road when you are driving with absolute perfection, just don’t yell and get into a road rage! That person might be having an emergency to reach out to his or her destination. Leave it at that…
Talking of the corporate world, I have seen many times we become too judgemental about a person based on his behaviour rather than talking about his performance. And then we judge his performance based on his behaviour. Is that fair on our part? We fail to distinguish between the person and his performance. Somehow the personality overtakes the performance of an individual. In my own experience, I have seen some of the sharpest minds in my team struggling to or having issues in becoming a team player (which is an important requirement in operations). But their individual contribution has been supreme. We can’t be judgemental on such people but should rather be empathic in utilising their talent wisely. And the judgement has to be in the right perspective. A famous quote by Albert Einstein sums it up very judiciously; ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
On a side note, these days I am practising to be in the ‘forgiving’ mode most of the time! In this mode, I try to forgive all those people who were not so kind to me in terms of their action or behaviour. Believe me, it has helped me a lot in clearing away a lot of clutter in my mind. My mind is no more occupied with all the unwanted angst and toxic thoughts which used to impact my thinking and behaviour in a negative way. I have succeeded to a great extent in this ‘forgive’ mode and now feel much more free and light. The fact of the matter is that now my mind is occupied with more positivity and constructive thoughts. It would be a good idea if the HR of the organisations carries out these periodic sessions/workshops on psychological behaviour for their employees which I am sure will help not only in enhancing the productivity of the individual employee but would also generate a vibrant and positive work culture in the organisation.
So, the crux of the matter then is that it will be good for us if we don’t jump our guns too quickly and judge others especially when our perspective of life is blurred with anger, jealousy, negativity and unfulfilled desires. Actually, what we see and judge in others depends on the clarity of our (mind’s) eyes or glasses through which we look at others. Ensure that your eyesight is in good condition and your glasses are clean.
Lastly, when you judge someone, it does not define who they are rather it defines who YOU are! So, next time when you are judging someone be kosher!