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Be curious, not judgmental.

I've just finished watching season 1 of the endearing Ted Lasso in which the affable, ever-optimistic Ted quotes Walt Whitman in a -- if not the -- pivotal scene of the whole season. Let me pause here to state two things:

  1. If you have not seen Ted Lasso, I highly recommend it. Here's a review that will tell you a little more about it, and it includes a video of the scene in question. Spoiler alert -- as I said, it's a pivotal moment in the first season so, if you've gotten this far and still haven't seen all 10 episodes and you want to, read the review but skip the video. Treat yourself to letting it unfold in the storyline.

  2. According to Snopes, Walt Whitman did not say "Be curious, not judgmental." It doesn't matter to me. I like it; it's a great bit of wisdom. I can really relate to it. I want the t-shirt. And, besides, Walt Whitman wrote a lot of great stuff, so we are not detracting a bit from his body of work.

Ted has turned this dictum into a principle. He's human like the rest of us and suffers painfully from grief and anguish, just as we do. He cries, he hurts. He loses his temper. But unlike the rest of us, he sustains his optimism and non-judgment -- by choice. This is not an easy task. He chooses curiosity over judgment. And it makes him a beguiling, complicated character.

Try your hand at this principle this week. Be curious, not judgmental. Start with yourself. Usually, the first part is easier than the second. We have the capacity to question our own actions, our motivations and thoughts with some modicum of dispassion. Some, I said. But the second part? About ourselves? No judgment? Much harder.

And then turn that outward. Be curious about others. Ask them questions. And listen to their answers -- without judgment. Unless you are on the debate team, just listen. You will always learn if you just listen.

Peace and love to you this week ahead.


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