The greatest psychological challenge to getting things done is often judgment.
It’s not procrastination, neither is it a busy schedule. Other than money and certain family situations, most of the time, our biggest obstacle is our inability to accept the judgment.
As humans, we all want to feel belonged, we all want to mean something to others and be loved by them. But our very desires of belonging, meaning and love are also the root causes of our deepest worry: the judgment of others.
The motivation behind most of our actions stems from earning respect and validation of others – to be judged as a “good person”.
So whenever we have the thought of doing something that has any chance of compromising the image we so desire to portray, we feel conflicted internally.
Should I do what I want to do despite knowing others would judge me? What if I don’t do it well and people see my flaws, tarnishing my image?
Even as I’m writing this article, I’m thinking to myself, “What if my readers think of me as being a pretentious prick?”
Of course, if you’re reading this right now, it means I don’t care whether some people think I’m pretentious, as long this article provided value to even one person who read it.
Even then, what you see would still be self-censored to some extent because some remnants of fear of judgment still remain.
Most ideas die in our heads
We all think of doing many things every day but most of which (or sometimes even all) we never acted them out.
Unmistakably, if everyone just did what they wanted or acted as they thought, the world would be in chaos. I guess it’s similar to the idea, “If everyone was an entrepreneur, the economy might collapse.”
The key, as said very well by Jason Teo – the screenwriter for JUO Productions – is balance. The world functions largely on balance – the ecosystem, the economy (though, we’ve been experiencing much economic imbalance for more than a decade now), our country politics and our body.
It’s not realistic to act out on every single one of our thoughts, desires or even passions. But working on that one idea always nagging at the back of our minds should be the least we could do for ourselves.
It could be approaching someone completely out of your league, sending a cold email to your dream company, starting an online business or even a personal blog.
People are going to judge, no matter what we do. So why not screw it all and just do it? When someone says, “See? I told you so,” you could and should proudly reply, “At least I tried.”
Fear and jealousy
Those people who feel the need to be right about their advice against our initial decision even to try, and vocalise it after our setback, are either too afraid to try themselves or jealous of your courage. Don’t mistake it for good will or concern.
Those who are concerned out of good will would give us the support we need – physical or psychological or even better, both.
Of course, what others think and say is not bad all the time. It keeps us in check with ourselves and with reality. But we need to identify and differentiate the feedback we need from the judgment that is just out to prevent us from getting anything done.
Feedback versus judgment
Feedback is always grounded in facts, variables we can control and in best case scenarios, possible solutions or suggestions come in the package.
People who are genuine towards us would give us valuable feedback to improve ourselves rather than make us feel bad about our shortcomings. Feedback is what helps us grow.
Judgment, on the other hand, is always, always grounded in emotions, variables we can’t control and no suggestions, solutions or even a tinge of positivity. Judgment is often nothing more than biased criticisms. Yes, it’s known as “hate” sometimes too.
Judgment usually comes from people who don’t matter to us. Either that or we don’t matter to them. Inevitably, some people judge us unintentionally from time to time but that we should still filter it out if we want to get things done.
What matters most
So what can we do when we’re always judged by so many people every day?
Screw judgment; focus on the feedback. Even then, don’t worry about all the feedback, we can’t possibly work on everything. Work on what matters.
As one of our previous guests, Zhenwei said before, as a food business owner, he received constructive feedback from good willed customers and friends all the time. However, he has to consider which kind of feedback can get him closer to his goal.
Of course, we’ll take any kind of feedback over biased judgments any day. Nonetheless, we still have to remain focused on our goals, regardless of feedback or judgment.
If anything, treat the constructive feedback as a motivating factor. Judgment will always try to creep behind us and drag us down.
Screw the judges
The best way I deal with judgment is proving the judge wrong.
Remember, judgment is often emotionally biased, pointing out stuff we can’t control and nothing more than criticisms and without suggestions. It almost always serves nothing more than a mental obstacle to prevent us from progressing and ultimately succeeding.
That is why whenever I spot judgment, I’ll just take it and fuel my motivation to prove the judge(s) wrong. It’s the only way we can overcome self-doubt, low self-confidence and ultimately, ourselves.
Screw judgment, just do what you believe in.
Because even Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor a year or a decade. It took centuries and dozens of emperors to make Rome great.
Listen to Anecdotes, a podcast where my friend Timothy and I listen, learn and share inspiring personal stories.
You can listen to our chat with Jason Teo, the screenwriter at JUO Productions, a Singapore video production house. In this article, I also mentioned Zhenwei, a Japanese bowl pop-up store entrepreneur, whom we also had the pleasure of chatting with – listen to it here.