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Invented Judgment – the Killer of Success

 Think back for a moment, to a time when you sat in a classroom waiting to get your exams back.  As the teacher called out the names of students, your heart beats a thousands beats per minute.  Did I study enough, you ask yourself.  Am I going to pass the class?  Please, don’t let me be at the bottom of the curve…What will my parents think if I don’t get a good grade…?

 Now think back to a performance review with your boss.  How did it feel as you prepared your responses to last year’s improvement plan?  Did you find yourself digging deep to find examples of how you might have been an exemplary employee?  As you walked into your boss’s office and sat down, what thoughts went through your mind as he pulled out your file…  Am I going to get a raise this year…? I really deserve that 3% and need it. I heard money was tight this year…did I outperform my co-workers to get that raise I wanted…? 

 Looking at the two experiences, how were they similar?  In one instance, you were a child, full of hope and uninhibited dreams.  In the other, work life has taught you to have tougher skin, while your goals and dreams are a lot more “logical”.

 According to well-known authors and researchers, “the main purpose of grades is to compare one student against another.  Most people are also aware that competition puts a strain on friendships and too often consigns students to a solitary journey”.  In another recent study of grades given to 85 9th grade students, grade variances from the first opinion rarely changes.  In other words, once the teacher made up his/her mind about a certain student, that’s the grade they’ll get for the rest of the year.  What does this behavior teach our children…?  Consider this lesson – if you want to be successful, you need to worry about what your teachers/superiors think and do what they want you to do.  Although this is a tough pill to swallow, the form of programming was designed into the system to create subservient workers.

 Grades are a common form of judgment.  They throw students into a maelstrom of back stabbing, competition, subservience, and scarcity.  As you get into the professional world or even as a business owner, these grading scales are still present to force conformity within the system.  How much time do you spend worrying about what your superior thinks of you?

 Grades and performance reviews are labels created by human inventions.  When I was in an Engineering Mechanics class, the teacher informed me that 1/3 of the class was honor students.  I was not in that group. Being a programmed-competitor, I decided that I was smarter than those honor students and I was going to beat them all.  As I worked diligently with every homework assignment, I didn’t help anyone else, fearing that they might beat me.  At the end of the course, I was 3rd in the class with no new friendships.  What did it mean to be 3rd?  Is there only a limited amount of A’s to be given or a limited amount of money?


Our society provides abundance!  There’s always plenty of A’s in any class.  There is always plenty of money to give out. The trick to all of this is to give yourself an A, according to Zander & Zander (2000), and truly believe in your A-abilities.  This is self-love; it yields self confidence. Then, look at everyone around you – they are all A-people as well, waiting to blossom. 

Imagine a world where the possibility to achieve anything they desired is present.  In that belief system, the universal desire in the people to contribute to others and their community shines.  In such a business, there is no fear of competition, only collaboration; how innovative will this business be?  What kind of revenues is generated when every person is focused on, and believes in their ability to achieve anything?  Some might call that a empowering vision statement. 

Giving yourself an A is free.  In practice, start with the following:

1.      On a weekly basis, revisit various areas of your life and see where judgment placed you inside a context that is drastically smaller than your dreams.  Realize that those judgments are human invented realities having nothing to do with you.

2.      When working at any task, ask yourself – is this what a A-student / leader would do?  Allow yourself the room to be the best and give the best.

3.      At times, you’ll often find yourself judging others.  When that occurs, ask yourself, do I have the right to judge another person?  For example, coming from New York, it’s common to verbally abuse someone who cuts you off while driving.  In a mild term, you might call that person a “jerk” – which is a judging word.  What if that person was compassionate enough not to hit a rabbit that you simply cannot see?  What if that person simply did not see you? 

 These simple practices will help you create a new reality.  America has plenty of people who blame, make excuses, and are in denial. You don’t have to be one.  Just give yourself an A and walk outside the system of judgment.

 By Dr. Ted Sun 

September, 2005

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