In their inspirational book the Art of Possibility, Ben and Rosamund Zander speak about the world of measurement. A world we all know too well. A world that judges us and in turn is judged by us. The results are often crippling. We hide from the life we wish to live, but I wouldn’t be writing this if there was no hope. Indeed, there is an infinite universe of possibilities.
We judge not because we are mean, but because as children, we were somewhat helpless and needed to identify, with some gusto and efficiency, the things that would help us or hurt us. There were indeed many dangers lurking on various corners and staircases, when we were young, and our ability to measure and judge served us well by increasing our safety and preserving our security.
The problem is, as you and I grow up, less and less dangers present themselves, at least here in the free world. As we become adults, we became capable of handling many situations, and are prepared to handle many things. We are no longer afraid of campfire ghost stories, our school bullies, or our countless nightmares. We became confident in navigating our way through the brave new world, but our childhood habits of judgement and measurement, are never quite abandoned, and so we continue to employ them in our service.
The world of measurement and judgement limits us. It sentences us to repeat our past mistakes. It forces us to do the same things, and reap the same rewards.
We become our own nightmare, our own worst critic.
Our hearts are filled with doubts and our minds are often full of regrets.
Full of I told you so. I knew this would happen. What was I thinking? Nothing good ever happens to me. Full of thoughts that you’re not worthy. That you don’t deserve this.
But who do you think you are?
Who gave you right to judge yourself?
When we attack ourselves, those closest to us are rendered helpless. They are more than willing to spring into action when a stranger raises his fist against us, or a keyboard warrior spews garbage in our direction on Facebook. They are rendered helpless however, when we run away and judge ourselves useless.
They become helpless to help us. They are unable to show us who they see.
And we are blind to their attempts anyway.
They hold part of the truth of who we are, and we need to listen and hear them out.
It’s not easy to silence the world of judgement. It is a habit that comes easy and springs up in everything we do. Regardless of how hard it may be, we have no choice but to fight against it.
Beautiful women hide from the world, because they have come to compare themselves to a Photoshop illusion. They cringe and cannot accept a genuine compliment. They are unhappy with their weight. They are unhappy with growing older. They are unhappy but they persist in measuring themselves against others, of judging themselves against their younger self.
It is a war they cannot win.
Young people try so hard to achieve in top marks school, and some end up depressed, burdened with ulcers, or opioid addictions.
They are so quick to struggle and fight against the world. To tell you how unfair the whole system is, and in the same breath they accept and embrace the world of measurement.
The world of measurement says that our resources are limited. There is not enough for everybody. We have to hide and protect our stuff. As Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman so beautifully puts it, “its fuck your buddy, cheat on your wife, and send your mother a mother’s day card on mother’s day”.
We measure and judge ourselves to death.
We have created a culture of death. A ladder which keeps us from meeting and getting to know each other. A world of doing that keeps us away from being.
You need a universe of possibility.
A place where anything is possible. A magical land where dreams take flight.
You need hope.
You need tomorrow.