Part 1, The Complaint


Judgment is a persistent complaint that someone or something shouldn't be the way it is, or do what it does. They are a coping mechanism people develop in response to a threatening situation. Sometimes they're based on incorrect or incomplete information, or on something that is believed but not real, or on inaccurate perception. Judgments are VALID, and they produce a certain kind of quality in life. This quality can be defined in terms of a set of costs, and a set of benefits. More detail follows.

Ones' satisfaction, and quality of life in general, are impacted by complaints. The more you complain about, the less satisfied you are with life. (Duh.) The perceived quality of life is reduced, and since your perception is your reality, the actual quality of life goes down too. This is independent of circumstances. You can complain and reduce your quality of life without your circumstances changing at all.

The early warning sign for a judgment is a loss of humor. We are slaves of that about which we cannot laugh.


“I notice you complaining about [fill in the blank] a lot. Tell me more.”

Get the complaint out in the open.

“So would you say that x shouldn't be y?” “If I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying a is right and b is wrong?” Get it in terms of Good, Bad, Right, Wrong, Should or Shouldn't, or a combination thereof.


There are six judgments:

Good Right Should Bad Wrong Shouldn't

There's a whole world of options for using and combining these words. You should do the right thing; everyone should. It's good to do right things. And it's bad to do wrong things. You shouldn't do bad things. Choose the right. Bad people do what they shouldn't. And so on.

Are you comfortable with these terms? (piety)

There's another word hiding behind and under all these but it's the most important word of all: important.

  • morality is really about importance
  • Take some time to redefine “good” in terms that remove judgment
  • Remove should, need to, etc., and replace them with option / probability

Part 2, The Cost

“How do you feel about that?”

Inquire with the person into the impact of whatever they're complaining about. The Four Impacts:

  • Well-being and vitality
  • Satisfaction, fulfillment
  • Self-expression
  • Love and Affinity

The person who carries judgment around pays a high cost.

Judgments make it basically impossible to be related to the object of their complaint, so love stops existing.

They also restrict self-expression. If you have a judgment about Susan, it's obvious that you will be stifled when you're around her. You may try not to be stifled, you may pretend it's not stifling you, and you may put on a damned convincing show, but if you're honest about it, you're stifled. You're uncomfortable. You can't be yourself. Even worse, your self-expression is probably stifled whenever Susan comes up in conversation, because you are either complaining openly about her, or holding back what there is for you to say about her. Judgments don't like to be held in; they want to be validated. (FIXME Gossip.)

Judgment can affect your physical well-being. (FIXME - I need more information on this.)

FIXME The costs of judgment should be asked as inquiries, not asserted as the truth.

Part 3, The Shift


“Consider that the reason you're experiencing all those negative things is not because of the situation, but rather, it's because of your complaint about the situation.”

Insert a story from your own life about a situation where this was true for you.


“Shouldn't be” → “Is”

“He / She / It is” → “I am”

I haven't developed this skill very much at all. James Ord turned one of my complaints around. “[Name withheld] shouldn't be freaking out,” became “… should be freaking out,” and “I shouldn't be freaking out.” The first flip is validated; he should be freaking out, and I know he should, because he is. I shouldn't be freaking out is validated because–while I was unaware–I was freaking out. (How often is it true that the thing that bothers me about someone else is also true of me? Said another way, is their being a certain way reminding me of something I don't like about myself?)


“Is the other party going to do what they're going to do, or be how they're going to be, regardless of what you do or how you are?”

“Are you really doing what you could to resolve the situation? If not, why not?”

“You're of at least two minds regarding this complaint. You want the complaint resolved, you really do, but you're also getting something out of the complaint. Here's a serious question to start answering now: What could you do to resolve this complaint, or affect the situation?

Possible Pitfall

It would be easy at this point to get into a game of “Why Dont You / Yes But” (YDYB) with the person being coached. Preference should be given to having potential solutions come from them, rather than being suggested. FIXME (This needs a link to the YDYB page once it exists.)

If it does get into YDYB, have them change “that won't work because” into “I haven't done that so far because,” or “so far that hasn't worked because.”

You can also point out that these are all reasons not to have what they want, which may demonstrate the larger point that they are of two minds about whether they really want the situation changed. Inquire about possible existential positions being reinforced. Suggest being unreasonable. FIXME (“existential positions” needs to be linked.)

Option: If the judgment is about a person

What would it take for you to forgive them? What would they have to do?


Is the situation really the way you think it is? How much of it is Reality and how much of it is Perception?

Part 4, The Payoff


“What do you think you get out of your complaint about this situation?” “Can you think of an upside to this? Some advantage? Is there anything at all that you get out of it?”

Inquire into the main payoffs:

  • I get to be right (keep my viewpoint / “Existential Position” / matrix intact) / make someone else wrong (invalidate their viewpoint)
  • I get to justify my actions / invalidate someone else's actions
  • I get to be in control of a situation, or at least be safe. (“Are you being defensive?”)
  • I get to win (I'm important; I matter) and make someone else lose. (You don't matter; you're less important than I am.)

One of the biggest parts of developing this technology is doing this part skillfully. I'll write more later. FIXME


In the face of something you perceive as threatening, judgments allow you to perceive safety. They do so in four specific ways:

  • You get to be “right” and make the other person “wrong”;
  • You get to justify your actions, no matter how unethical they may be, and invalidate the other's actions, no matter how benevolent they may be;
  • You get to dominate the other, and be safe from their domination;
  • You get to be the “winner,” and make the other into the “loser.”
  • The sum of these perceived benefits is to be important, and to make the other unimportant. That's the whole point; if you think someone or something could make you unimportant, the natural, predictable, understandable, human response is to create a judgment to protect against it, and ensure your importance.

Note that none of these benefits are even real. They're illusions. (FIXME)

Option: If the judgment is that someone did something threatening to your importance

Judgment is a response to a perceived threat. If someone has done something to threaten your sense of importance (you may have to pull this out, or redefine terms in order to make it fit) it's natural to respond by attacking their importance. “If you say I'm not important, I will make you unimportant; therefore, what you say about my importance doesn't matter.” You can see that this could turn into a very nasty spiral.

Part 5, The Impact

FIXME All of this is written like something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Life is not better or worse depending on how much judgment you dole out in your waking hours. It's different. Just different.


Each of the payoffs is illusory.

  • Being right / making someone else wrong, only exists with yourself and whomever you get to agree with you. It isn't the truth.
  • Justifying your actions proves their illegitimacy. Invalidating what someone else does proves its legitimacy.
  • Being safe is unsafe. (Needs expansion.)
  • Win/Lose is really Lose/Lose. Explanation:

Judgments are a response to a perceived threat–something that questions or attacks your importance as a human being. Judgment responds by attacking the importance of whatever actor was attacking your importance. It's responding to invalidating by invalidating it. Therefore, nothing is validated; nothing is created; value is removed rather than added.


Finally, the most pernicious thing about judgment is its self-reinforcing nature. FIXME


What you already have, what you're already doing, how you already are


  • What's that like for you?
  • What do you think that's like for the other person?


So, if judgments are so harmful, why do we keep them around?

Well, I said earlier that judgments are a coping mechanism for dealing with threatening situations. (To be specific, the perceived threat is that you might not be important.) They're part of being human. While they are expensive, we come by them honestly–innocently–just for being alive, and that's why they're not wrong or sinful. (A sin you come by innocently… contradiction in terms.)

Part 6, Choice


The space that the judgment occupied will clear as soon as you allow it to, and it will stay judgment-free as long as you have something to put in.

Imagine that the circumstances around this are 'fixed'. Things are the way you wish they were. What would that look like? Get this in terms of:

  • What you would have
  • What you would be doing
  • How you would be being

“So with the judgment out of the way, and the situation resolved, how would you like to be? What would you like to create?”

This is all over the world of transformational work and I think it's useless: “If you weren't being x, who could you be?”

Option: Missing, the presence of which would make a difference

Option: Communicate; perhaps share vision

“Who [or what] else has been impacted by your judgment? What might you do to complete it for them as well?” Maybe you could:

  • Write a letter–you can decide later whether to send it or not
  • Call them on the phone
  • Tell them you're sorry–offering forgiveness is not effective and is counterproductive
tactics/judgment.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/16 23:20 by naptastic
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