The eternal critic. Judgement will try to make sure you never look foolish or make mistakes.
Why the habit exists
Judgement is fanatical about always making the right decisions. It is concerned about losing time and resources and subsequently takes a no-nonsense line. Its job is to weed out the wrong answers and bad ideas before they cause disruption or damage. Judgement controls your amygdala, the alarm centre of your brain, and devotes the majority of its neural activity to scanning for negatives. In neuroscience, this is called a ‘negativity bias’, where we perceive negative information as being more important to act on.
More than that, Judgement has a reputation of credibility to uphold and needs to justify any uncertainties by reasoning with watertight logic. In neuroscience terms, this is an ‘overconfidence bias’, where the more expert someone believes they are, the more convincing they are going to take.
How it holds you back
Judgement makes it far easier to criticise than invent and this prevents you from spotting useful concepts within flawed ideas.
Most innovative ideas are fragile. They don’t usually seem logical at first because they don’t fall in line with an existing approach. As soon as something new is put forward, Judgement will instantly compare it to what’s come before and find reason to reject it. Let Judgement have its way and you will never get to the point whereby you can hone down new ideas into practical solutions.
It’s also easier to do nothing rather than risk being criticised. When it comes to working with others, this can mean ideas and suggestions are kept in rather than be subjected to scrutiny.
How you can train it
- When facing a challenge or new opportunity that doesn’t immediately seem right, stay positive first and focus on what alternative ways the concept might work. Then you are ready to manage other negatives in turn. This will ensure you get much further with creative exploration before you bring in any evaluation.
- Split out objectives. Too much complexity overloads brain and Judgement sees this as too risky so shuts it down. If challenges are handled in bite-sized chunks, it’s far simpler for the brain to manage. Also, once ideas are rolling for one objective, others might start to solve themselves or become less important.
- Go for a flight of fancy and allow your imagination to ask wild exploratory questions. What if cars could drive themselves? What if my shopping packages could fly to me immediately? A few years ago these questions would have seemed absurd but the questions have inspired Google and Amazon to lead on these breakthroughs.
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