A Better Way To Judge Others (And Yourself)


If I didn’t prefer one type of person over another, I’d probably be dead.

I wouldn’t have known to avoid the guy with a gun in the ally.

I certainly wouldn’t be having as much fun with life as I am.

“We’re all One, if you were spiritual enough you’d understand.”

Okay, thanks, but I’m sure you’d rather spend your Oneness with others who are more in line with Oneness preferences than me.

And that’s cool. We’re still One. We’re just One in different places thinking different things.

The problem isn’t that we judge people. The problem is that we’re terrible at judging them.

We judge them based on their current station in life.

We judge them based on what they say they will do.

We judge them based on their title.

At our worst we judge them based on how many Twitter followers they have.

This hurts them and it hurts us.

Because how we judge others is how we judge ourself.

There’s a better way to make these judgements and, like all good ideas, it’s not new.

The Spartans’ worth depended on how they acted, not the outcome of their actions. Steven Pressfield elaborates in The Warrior Ethos,

“In the era before gunpowder, all killing was of necessity done hand to hand. For a Greek or Roman warrior to slay his enemy, he had to get so close that there was an equal chance that the enemy’s sword or spear would kill him. This produced an ideal of manly virtue – andreia, in Greek – that prized valor and honor as highly as victory.”

It’s best to judge people on the actions they take. Not their wealth, fame, or promises.

What we do is our character – we can control that. Lady Fortuna (luck) gets a say in the outcome.

Consider alternate histories – the outcomes that could have happened under different circumstances.

You yourself are lucky to have been born in a place and time where you have the ability to read Thought Catalog. Relative to other Thought Catalog readers, maybe you are unlucky due to your severe depression. Warren Buffett talks about how he was lucky to be born in a time and place where capital allocation was valued. All of us have been shaped by our luck – for better and for worse.

We don’t control that.

We only control what we do about it.

Do we stay strong and good? Do we crumble and become dishonest?

Don’t look down on others for failing, admire the ones who are still trying. It will make it easier for you to persevere.

Don’t look up to somebody because they’re rich, admire them because they do good. It will make it easier for you to be good while retaining your ambition.

Don’t take someone’s fame as validation of their ideas, look for yourself to see how rigorous they are. It will make it easier to be self-reliant in your own thinking.

When you judge yourself and others on how you’re acting now you’ll find yourself happier because you put yourself in control.

It’s easier to persevere through failures because you know that it’s about the process, and that success has no choice but to come eventually.

You’re less overwhelmed by existential angst and uncertainty because you know that the most important thing that you can do is act well today.

You free yourself from your own harsh judgements because you judge the world differently.

There is no taming Lady Fortuna. There is only taming yourself to act well regardless of what she does.

If you keep going, though, she’ll have no choice but to come.

Father Time makes sure of that.