Judging Others Makes Us Bad Educators

I don’t watch TV. However, yesterday, I got sucked into an episode of Project Runway on Bravo. I watch this show periodically. I also have watched Top Chef and Sheer Genius.

There is a lot of cattiness and judging that goes on between the contestants. It’s immediately apparent who thinks they are the best, and who is spending a lot of time focusing on others’ projects. It’s also quickly apparent who is not paying much attention to everyone else, and is focused only on their own work at hand.

Last night, the contestant who won both immunity and the elimination round was a woman who not only focused on her own project, but she also was genuinely sad when others did not win. She was observant, careful, and compassionate. She was also going for the win.

Sometimes, the ruthless, catty, arrogant contestants win a round. But in both Project Runway and Top Chef, the overall winners most often seem to be the quiet, observant, and non-competitive ones. How ironic, that the non-competitive contestants would be winners. But so often, in life, that’s how it is. Have you noticed that?

I notice this trend in homeschooling. Families who spend time judging others and talking about how this family isn’t doing well or that family is messing up, are the ones who always seem to be having trouble. Whereas the quiet, observant, and supportive families are the ones who seem to do well, even in the face of challenge.

I’m starting to see how this powerful understanding works everywhere. Even in politics, compassion and non-judgement makes an impression and has lasting stick.

Is this a psychological thing? Are the people who complain about others and judge using it as a way to cover up their own failures? And people who don’t judge as a habit, are already successful so they don’t need to? Or does the judging and time spent pointing fingers create failure by reducing the amount of energy that we have to focus on our own success? And do those who don’t judge have a higher likelihood of success because they spend their mental energy on their own projects?

What do you think? Does judging others and pointing fingers at other people’s or system’s problems create problems for ourselves? Does it make it less likely that we will succeed? Or is it more complicated than that?

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6 Responses to “Judging Others Makes Us Bad Educators”

  1. Heather Young Says:

    I have been in both places. I used to be the catty one who always knew about where everyone else was failing but couldn’t see my own (though I have never been naturally competitive.) Now I realize that everyone is in a different place and where I am is very different than most people so why bother with them except to help if I am able.

    I can’t speak for others but I know that I did it then so that I could look good and so that I didn’t feel so bad about where I was and who I was in comparison. I think of it as the teenage girl syndrome, except that I was still doing it as a newly wed with a baby. It is definitely psychological–you can usually see that what people are pointing at in others is similar to something they see in themselves, or it is something they are afraid will happen to themselves. Also, having a bad attitude of this sort IS self defeating–we are so busy looking around the room to see what everyone else is doing that we forget to pay attention to what WE are supposed to be doing.

  2. ajmann77 Says:

    I find myself not “judging” per say but just wanting so badly for my friends and family to gain the joy and benefits from home schooling that I find myself talking about it all the time. Actually, I’ve stopped very recently even bringing it up. No one said anything to me but I just know I have to be getting on their nerves. But, I’m like that when I find something I really believe in – take Lay’s Pickle Flavored Potato Chips for example. I insist EVERYONE should try them because they are the best chips ever made and to miss out on this festival of flavor would be a shame. LOL. I don’t know why it seems the quiet confident types seem to “win” most of the time. Never thought of it before….thanks for making me think.

  3. Zayna Says:

    “Does judging others and pointing fingers at other people’s or system’s problems create problems for ourselves? Does it make it less likely that we will succeed? Or is it more complicated than that?”

    I don’t think it is more complicated than that.

    When we focus on our task at hand, caring only about what WE think of our progress then we give all of our energy to just doing our best. That’s bound to show up in the result of our efforts.

    But if we spend our time comparing our projects to that of another then we by default need to spend our energy either putting down their work or our own. The precedent of better has been set. That too, is bound to show up in the result.

    Though I have watched these shows, especially Project Runway (I love to design and sew costumes), I find myself getting caught up in and then turned off by the “forced drama” of the competition.

    Doing your best shouldn’t have anything to do with being better or worse than someone else.

  4. sunniemom Says:

    Does judging others and pointing fingers at other people’s or system’s problems create problems for ourselves?

    Sunniemom’s Nutshell Analysis:
    It is well nigh impossible to solve our problems when we are looking out the window instead of in the mirror.

  5. Rational Jenn Says:

    I don’t think the problem is “judging others,” but rather, with “focusing on others.” Sunniemom’s nutshell analysis is spot on.

    We can look around and see what and how others are doing, and get ideas and decide which ones to try for ourselves and which ones won’t be ideal with our values and situations. That process requires judgment.

    But making what others are doing the focus of our efforts, instead of setting our own goals and working toward them for the benefit of ourselves and our families is counterproductive, to say the least.

    However, to focus on our own goals requires self-esteem (in addition to knowing what your values are and planning how to reach them, etc.). I have found that those who are mostly focused on what others are doing often have very low self-esteem. Such people mistakenly believe that in order to lift themselves up, they must put other people down. Since that doesn’t address the primary problem–a feeling of self-value–they must do this again and again until it sometimes becomes a very bad habit.

    It takes inner strength to do what you think is right, to make and stand by your own judgment, especially when it differs from what so many others are doing. It can be hard to break the vicious cycle of basing your self-worth solely on a comparison to other people.


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