Alex Redmountain, my longtime friend and colleague, coined this phrase which I have found useful not only in my professional work but also in maintaining my own integrity.
Wise people have spoken eloquently about the folly of judging others. In Matthew 7:1-3, Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” And Carl Jung speculates on that “log” when he says, “Everything that is unconscious in ourselves we discover in our neighbor and we treat him accordingly . . . What we combat in him is usually our own inferior side.”
The beauty of Alex’s profoundly simple admonition is that he points the way out of the quagmire of judgmentalness with the directive, “More Curiosity.” I sometimes find myself deeply bogged down in a seemingly endless loop of judging others. For example, I may self-righteously obsess over traits I don’t like in my wife. Telling myself to stop being judgmental doesn’t put an end to it. Only when I get curious do I pull out of the cycle, curious about my wife’s behavior, but, more fruitfully, curious about me. Questions I ask myself include: What am I avoiding by being in this obsessive loop, what am I not wanting to face in myself, and in what ways are her traits merely disguised and disowned parts of me?
Deepak Chopra, in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, says that judgmentalness clutters the mind and stops growth. Being non-judgmental creates “thought gaps” which can lead to openness of mind, to surprise, and to options. We cannot grow until we run out of people to blame. Curiosity points us away from blame and judgmentalness toward growth.