While we judge we are forming a conclusion. We form an opinion and at the same time we are limiting a situation, a person, ourselves.
What happens when you tell someone he is a good or a bad person? You are determining this person. How about when we talk about capability? What happens when you tell someone he is not able to do something? Do you think you are the one who can define a person by saying how capable or intelligent this person is? No? But how many times do we do these things? How many times in our life have we said: This guy is sooo stupid… And then the funny thing is, that if we are lucky and we get to know this person a little better, we find out that this person is really cool 🙂 And maybe he becomes our best friend 🙂
Another example: When you are facing a challenge, how many times have you said “this so hard, I won’t make it”? And then you do make it after all…
Have you ever heard about the book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. The title of this book bothers me: Why is Horowitz describing things as hard? OK, I know, It is a marketing strategy, and maybe if I would not be in a phase of trying to avoid judging, I would buy it. Then I would think: Life is hard, so this book can help.
But while we judge, in this case a situation, we are keeping the situation from possibly being any other way. When I say: This is hard, then I am limiting this situation to being hard. It is hard, and that is it. How was your exam? Hard. How was the preparation of your wedding? Hard. How was the European Championship semi-final for the Germans? Hard.
So for me, Horowitz is saying: Things are hard. And all the examples in his book, “the things”, are predetermined to be “hard”. And he is determining this for all of his readers. Anybody who is going to buy this book knows, from the beginning, that it is about hard situations, so they cannot be any other way. So my first thought was: Who does he think he is? Why is he keeping us from giving a situation, “the things”, our own perspective?
So I asked my friend, who is currently reading this book, for an example. What can be so hard? The answer was: Firing your best friend. Oh! I was speechless, of course. I knew immediately what this person was talking about…
We discussed if it was possible to see this situation in another way. We reframed the situation, we gave the “thing” another frame, or context. We also talked about what it could mean to the best friend to find a new job, and that maybe this friend had been stuck in the old company for much too long. And while we were talking, we found ways of not seeing this situation as hard. Instead, we explored different perspectives until the situation had revealed great potential, and all feeling of hardship had disappeared. For me the discussion ended when my friend said: Well maybe that wasn’t a good example for a really hard thing 🙂
The point is, we are so used to limiting our thinking through our own or someone else’s judgment, that we forget to see situations from other perspectives. Leadership is the ability to see an opportunity everywhere. While you look for the opportunity, your forget the challenge.
Remember that “the hard thing” is a feeling, and we can change this feeling. By being aware of this, we can give the feeling another direction.
When we judge, we also judge ourselves. We are limiting our own view. Remember my last blog post? Be aware of how you are limiting yourself, so you can discover more about your authentic you!
Are you ready to discover your full potential — your authentic you? Lead.You.Up! Start with yourself!