This week on the podcast I’m talking about judgment and how to examine your biases. Not judgment as in the good judgment we try to instill in our kids. Or judgment as in, you went to court and received a judgment. But judgement as in looking down your nose at someone else, or even judging yourself.
Listen To The Podcast Here
I mean, on the one hand, judgment is natural. We all do it, and a lot of times we don’t even realize we’ve done it. On the other hand, it’s not a very generous, open-hearted, or kind thing to do. Meaning, if being a better person matters to you, and clearly it does because you’re listening to this podcast, then at some point, judgment becomes something you’ve got to take a look at. Let’s do that together this week.
A first step in working with anything that’s hiding in plain sight is just noticing it. Awareness is your friend—even when what you’re raising your awareness about isn’t all that pleasant. Einstein said if he had an hour to solve a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and only five minutes thinking about the solution. You can’t address what you don’t understand.
So today’s big idea is that a crucial part of the journey to being a better person is to examine your biases.
First off, what are Biases?
They are subconscious judgments that have solidified into beliefs. Not only are they subconscious, they are generally sweeping. Like, a bias of my own that I had to take on was that all rich people were jerks. Biases sweep right over individual details and place people and situations into groups that we then label good or bad.
And nothing is 100% good or bad. The truth is, there are always nuances and circumstances to any person or behavior. As a result, our biases keep us disconnected from others and from reality.
Because so much of this happens in the subconscious, I’m guessing that you probably don’t know all the things you’ve deemed ‘bad’. So, ask yourself who you judge and examine your biases. Slow drivers? Conservatives? Liberals? Working moms? Stay-at-home moms? Rich people? Poor people? Yoga teachers? Short people? Lawyers? Black people? Brown people? Old people? Kids? Really, the possibilities are endless.
It doesn’t have to be a category of people
It might be someone’s behavior. Like, last week on my interview with Kelli I talked about how someone who’s walking slowly across an intersection because they’re looking at their phone gets my goat. Maybe there’s someone in your household who’s spending an awful lot of time on screens and you’re judging that as bad. I’m not saying it’s great, I’m saying it’s something that in your mind you have a definite negative opinion about.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to challenge yourself to list your prejudgments. Yup, go ahead and write them down. Write, Things I judge, then make a list. Next to each thing you write down, also write why you feel that way. Then look for ways your thinking might be flawed and examine your biases.
Meaning, could there be a good reason that person is walking slowly while looking at their phone? Is it 100 percent, without a doubt true, that that type of person or that behavior is bad??
We all make judgments and put others into boxes at times, and it takes a conscious effort to really see our subtler biases. But challenging the stereotypes and assumptions you’ve taken for granted will make you a better person. It will help you see and appreciate nuance, and open you up to more possibilities for connection because you won’t automatically write off large groups of people.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to start discerning how you feel about folks based on your impressions of them, versus your assumptions. It’s a really cool strategy that helps you get out from underneath the awning of your preconceived notions and hang out in the present moment, which makes you a lot more perceptive and a lot more likely to find folks you vibe with—even if they might belong to a group that you would otherwise judge.