One of the most misquoted phrases in the modern English Language; is “Be curious, not judgmental.” The phrase has been attributed to Walt Whitman. However, he didn’t write it. Despite the controversy surrounding the origins of a simple phrase, there is wisdom within.
The power of curiosity can never be understated. Rather than judging or presuming, the ability to be curious opens up worlds and possibilities that would otherwise go unnoticed. By training our minds to replace judgment with curiosity, we can recognize opportunities in areas where others may see only uncertainty and closed doors. Being curious enables us to approach any situation from a more advantageous point of view, allowing us to uncover answers that inspire confidence and create positive change.
It is easy to look at someone struggling and negate their entire story. The problem is we only look at where they are. Not where they started. One of the most overlooked parts of the human journey is our starting point. Its significance far outweighs our ending point.
For example, the son of a President becoming a Senator is far less of a journey than that of the son of a blue-collar worker becoming a Senator. The start means something. Our unique background means something.
How to Train Your Brain to be More Open-Minded and Curious in Difficult Situations
When faced with difficult situations, jumping to the most negative conclusion can be easy. However, the best approach is to open your mind and explore creative solutions. Training your brain to exercise more openness and curiosity is an essential skill that can help you think outside the box in difficult moments. To do this, challenge yourself to recognize alternate perspectives or interpretations of what’s happening around you and look for potential growth opportunities rather than defaulting immediately to criticism.
Again, simply trying to answer the simple question, “Where did this person start?” allows us the mindset change many of us need. It is too easy to dismiss others without having the full story.
Challenging yourself and breaking out of the habit of judging others quickly is not an easy task. However, with the right perspective, it can be accomplished. Taking a step back and replacing judgment with curiosity can open up a whole new world of possibilities. Instead of looking for ways to put someone down or criticize them, focus on finding solutions and ways to improve the situation. It may require extra effort, but by getting into this mindset, you can break away from your judgment cycle and become more understanding and less critical.
How to Actively Listen Without Interrupting and Allow for Different Perspectives
Active listening is a skill that is pivotal for having healthy conversations that encourage diverse perspectives and ideas. To actively listen without interrupting, strive to understand another person’s perspective before sharing your input. This approach allows the speaker to fully express themselves and open dialogue on new topics. Additionally, it disrupts any inclination to pass hurried judgments and instead encourages an open-mindedness that welcomes a healthy exchange of ideas, leading to discoveries. By exposing yourself to different perspectives and perceptions, you will be better equipped to understand the complexities of situations and how people may differ in their opinion.
The Benefits of Replacing Judgment with Curiosity
Replacing judgment with curiosity is a powerful tool for personal growth. By taking the time to consider all possibilities from different perspectives, not just the ones that come naturally or are expected, we can open our minds to unseen outcomes and opportunities. The ability to approach situations objectively allows us greater insight into ourselves and others, developing inner confidence which shows outwardly in our relationships. Being curious instead of quick to judge leads to an increased understanding of the people and world around us and more meaningful interactions with both.