Everyone’s got a story. And rarely do we know it. All of it. Most of it. Any of it.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be blind. Not to be trite, but I imagine blind people must lack most of the prejudices sighted people have around perceived beauty, weight, height, or skin color. Imagine what it would be like to meet someone in a restaurant for a business meeting and make zero judgments on their professional stature or competence based on how they looked to us or how they presented themselves. Their suit or dress. How they tied their tie (or if they even wore won). How expensive their watch looked or whether their shoes were shined or nails were manicured. Think about all the nonstop judgments we make about people based on what we see.
Luxury brands like Rolex, Chanel, and Gucci would cease to exist. Hair salons and tailors would shutter.
Who cares if it’s a Mercedes or Subaru!
Pug or poodle.
Brand or generic.
I know I’ve just stated the obvious, but when you think about the consequential judgments we make about others in split seconds, it’s quite horrifying. Admittedly, whenever I see someone with an artificial limb, I now automatically assume they are a veteran of the Gulf or Afghan wars. Guess it doesn’t cross my mind that they could have diabetes or have been bitten by a shark.
I guess more importantly, what does it matter? Is their prosthetic my concern? I’ve heard that people will tell you what they need you to know. But is this always true? What if I want to learn from their situation? How do I teach my three sons about judgment, curiosity, empathy, diplomacy, and compassion, all at the same time? And simultaneously teach them lessons about what to avoid and who to friend and how to make wise decisions.
I don’t have the answer, but I do have a heightened sense and awareness of my judgments.
Maybe that is enough to disrupt those judgments from being unconscious, to put me between the stimulus and the response, and to enable me to choose my actions.
Turia Pitt knows a thing or two about being judged prematurely. After being trapped in the blaze of an out of control grass fire while competing in an ultra marathon, and suffering full-thickness burns over 65% of her body—she had professionals doubting her very survival. Against overwhelming odds, Turia defied every expectation placed on her and rebuilt her life in spectacular fashion to become an inspiring and motivating force for countless people around the world.
Turia is living proof that when we get our mindset right, we can achieve anything.
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