Exceptional people in our context are the best learners for several reasons.  We’ll talk about one of them in this post: being slow to judge.

This context is one where those around us represent different beliefs, values, customs, and perspectives. Our objective is to find a way to bridge those differences in order to get along and work well together.

Natural Assumptions May Not Be Right

For many of us, when surrounded by differences, our natural tendency is to compare what we see, hear, taste, or read with what we are used to and have depended on for survival and success in our lives.  In the U.S., people drive on the “right” side of the road. In Australia, they drive on the left side of the road. The survival of everyone depends on following the rules and the rules become so ingrained in us that they even move to the subconscious. 

We don’t think about them again until we are in an unfamiliar environment and are faced with “opposing” rules to survive. Whether it’s driving or entering someone’s home with or without our shoes on or believing that everything is God’s will or our will, it’s the same. 

When confronted with a different way of being or thinking, the tendency can be to label it as strange, illogical, stupid, inefficient, ineffective or not as good in some way or another.

The second we attach such labels, our ability to learn stops. 

If something is strange or illogical, it doesn’t make sense to spend any more time on it.  We have run the new rule through our brain’s culturally-determined microprocessor and the conclusion is that it’s “dumb.” End of story.

Our ability to learn why something is the way it is be damned. Worse, by using such labels, we often attach negative feelings along with it because the new rules have frustrated us. 

Having to change from the familiar to the unfamiliar has taken more time, more attention, more energy than we normally use and that’s just not the way it should be. And it follows that if the rules are stupid, so must be the people who make and follow them, and so the great risk is that a quick judgment to label the new environment leaves us not liking the place or the people.

How Are Exceptional People Different?

For Exceptional People, there is more than “One Way.”  Although these Exceptional People might have to use an equal amount of time, attention and energy to navigate the unfamiliar environment, they are slow to judge. 

They operate from the premise that there is a reason things are different and they are more interested in understanding why than in labeling it. Being slow to judge allows them to see patterns over time, to ask questions and seek answers. 

They might not agree with the rules any more than the person who labels them, but they come to understand the reason for the rules and are therefore better able to work with others who follow them. They understand that within the new environment, the rules fit together logically and the people that make and follow them are therefore logical people. 

It is simply a different logic, and “different” isn’t better or worse–just different.

One of the dimensions in the Kozai learning tools measures the degree to which we are judgmental. If you would like to know more about their tools, please reach out to the Kozai Group to see how we can help your organization. 

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