Empowering Your Judge

Only you know how truly lazy you are.

I think it was one of my art school professors who casually floated that idea into the classroom one day and I’ve regularly thought about it ever since. The point was to assuage any trepidation or feelings of imposter syndrome that might hamper our creativity, productivity, and any other pertinent “ivities”. I’m fairly certain is was also to combat the introverted art students’ penchant for pointing out everything wrong with their work every time they opened their mouths (🤚🏻 guilty). The byline went something like, “People probably think your work is pretty decent, no need to persuade them that you actually suck.” Bob Ross used to say don’t “spoil the magic” for those who enjoy your work. I think that statement is quite useful to hear, especially for creative people who have a critical eye.

Having said all that, there’s another side to this coin that contradicts the “you’re doing fine” mantra. While it’s healthy to refrain from undermining your abilities to others, that same instinct is a powerful spotlight to shine on your actual inadequacies.

The other day, I came across this vignette from one of Dr. Jordan Petersson’s lectures. Initially, he recounts the events of the trial of Socrates but rides that train of thought into the utility of setting difficult but attainable goals for yourself.

I’ve often heard him talk about “burning your personal deadwood”, leaving behind only the things about you that are good. I think this is a really powerful concept and imminently useful for anyone serious about self-improvement. People today seem so opposed to judgment of any kind - and who can blame them - but I think to completely ignore the judge inside your head is a missed opportunity to add substantial meaning to your life. And while I don’t think it’s realistic to expect anyone to scrutinize their every move, taking stock every few months or once a year, or whenever the mood strikes and seeing if you can “hire” an updated judge for yourself is something worth doing every time.

Only you know how truly lazy you are…(So while you’re busy keeping quiet about it, hire yourself a personal judge and work on it 😉)