In the multiverse of possible life-streams I could have lived or could be living even now, I am certain that Law is the bane of my existence in all of them. Law is about passing subjective judgments based on partial inputs managed by a process open to interpretation by experts who disagree. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure that Desperate Housewives and Survivor follow the same methodology.
Judgment does little to improve our society. If anything, it demonstrates its own uselessness through a lack of productive output. And yet even though we hate the feeling of being judged, we often let the opinion of others define our sense of personal value.
We all know the cycle. First we seek our parents’ approval, then our teachers’ approval, then our friends’ approval and so on until we convince ourselves that the approval of others is the chief objective in life. Because we carry decades of approval-based life experience, we learn to proactively fear negative judgments from our employers, partners and peers. Our fears begin to drive our actions and we quickly find ourselves doing what we think we must instead of doing what we know we must. It can be hard to maintain hope in those moments when predatory judgments pin us down like prey.
But the funny thing about predators is that they only prey on the weak. We’ve all seen YouTube videos where the prey fight back: hippos crushing crocodiles, water buffalo goring lions, and birds pecking vipers. When prey fight back they are no longer targets; they are threats. Those who judge also prey on weakness; they seek to criticize those who will not fight back. Even worse, they ignore or reject those they judge unworthy of their time. But take heart! Power lies not with those who judge but with those who choose to ignore the judgement of others.
There will always be those who judge and those who fear judgement. The key is knowing that there is also a third option: to do neither. Focus on what you want to build and recognize that judgment cannot keep pace with achievement. Judgement destroys but community constructs. Ignore those who judge you – let them judge. Your future lies in what you have yet to build.