No, I’m not talking about bookstores kicking us out if we try to read their stock before buying, but how we judge the people around us.
Each of us has a hidden set of criteria we use to evaluate whether someone is better or worse than ourselves, whether they’re likely to prove useful, or not. When you first meet someone, you start evaluating – or judging. “First impressions”, they’re called. It may be based on experience, and it may have nothing to do with skin colour, gender and/or disabilities, but it’s a form of prejudice anyway, and we all do it – no matter how much we like to think otherwise.
But there is a hidden cost.
Each and every person you meet has a lifetime of experiences, a unique perspective, and something special to offer. There is nobody alive who doesn’t. On meeting someone, though, how can you tell whether their life, experience, knowledge and perspective could teach you something?
The answer’s surprisingly easy. If they’re not you, they have something to teach.
The belief that you choose the lessons you go through in your life is not some metaphysical new age concept. It’s real. This is how you do it. Most of us just never realise or think about it, let alone step up to direct the process consciously.
By judging people and choosing who you allow into your life, who you’re exposed to, and who you’ll learn from; what perspectives, skills, experience and lessons are you cutting out? Do you know what your secret criteria are? How narrow a range of people do you connect with? – that’s a good cue as to how strict your entry requirements are likely to be.
Remember, each time you allow someone new into your life, you allow a greater possibility for growth. The further away that person is from what you normally allow into your life, the bigger that growth can be. As a bonus, you also allow them to receive what YOU have to teach – and everyone agrees that’s the best way to learn.