How do we gain experience? By consciously and intentionally jumping into the water, so to speak, and getting totally wet. Not just dipping our toes in the water, but totally submerging ourselves in it – taste it, touch it, and feel it with our whole being, including the effect it creates. The depth of our experience depends on how long we are in it. Regardless, we will form an experience once we are in contact with it. Is it possible to experience water otherwise? Yes, it is, but it may not be as deep and wholesome, some say.  Experience is a subjective thing. It is unique to each individual person.  Each is entitled to feel a certain way because of it; whether it’s firsthand or otherwise, in real life or through a book, a movie, and other means.

A few years ago, I entertained the thought about someone’s decision (call her Vi) that wasn’t in synch with my immediate reaction. Vi accepted a job offered by someone many don’t see eye to eye with. I was wondering why Vi, whose reputation I respect and value, would dare enough to take the risk of being unpopular. Meanwhile, I heard disappointing comments by many people about this appointment, amplified by disbelief that Vi would accept this invitation. How could this be, many asked?  The reason I was giving Vi benefit of the doubt (although I didn’t know Vi terribly well at this time) was because I heard a wise Jim Rohn once say, “To learn and grow, to become a better person, you need to learn not just about the favorables and what they do, but also about the unfavorables.”  Rohn gave an example that we ought to learn and read about George Washington, as well as Adolf Hitler. Often, we may judge those who want to learn about Hitler. What’s so fascinating about him? Isn’t it enough to know how awfully wrong what he had done?  Rohn’s reason was, “On one hand, to show how high a person can go. On the other, to illustrate how low and despicable a person can become.”

Learning through experience is the best teacher. Over the years I’ve read, watched movies, or heard firsthand stories from and about the unfavorables, or those who worked for or with them. Who am I to judge someone’s decision to do something?  Maybe one does it out of curiosity. Maybe it is to understand and gain better perspective about an issue, a situation, or a person. At the very least, that person will gain more knowledge that will help him/her make better decisions in the future.

Months went by, Vi was still working for this person and had learned a great more deal about him.  Being in closer proximity with him, Vi began to understand who he was and what made him the person he was. Most importantly, Vi could understand why and how this person usually arrived at certain decisions that might not be viewed favorably by many people, yet were still good for him and his company. Vi worked for almost three years with this person before resigning and accepting an appointment overseas. By then, I had become friends with Vi and was grateful to have learned a valuable lesson in life – to not place judgment on someone I don’t know well, don’t know the reason one arrives at a decision, and understand the full picture of the circumstances. I had been guilty of forming certain perception about someone I didn’t know well, whose behavior and actions I couldn’t stomach.

This experience has taught me to step back, be curious to understand, and be patient to see what may transpire before jumping into judgment. This is the most challenging thing I need to embrace in life.  I’m still practicing my patience muscle on this issue — to suspend my judgment until I know more, learn more, and understand more — a quality worth-having in life. It is challenging because judgment can appear almost naturally.  It takes some effort to be aware and remind myself to stay on course. I have seen people who allow themselves the time and space to do so, Vi is one of them.  Mistakes, just like bad judgments, teach us well. From such experience, hopefully, we make better judgment in the future.

#betterjudgment #badjudgment #lessonfromjudgment #livingyourinspiredlife #ingemaskun