by Heather M. F. Lyke
I may be one of few adults with reliable internet access who has yet to see Ted Lasso. In fact, my partner and I don’t even have Apple+ TV, which airs the show. For this reason, I was startled to learn the other day that, apparently, I have been quoting the show for months, often asking of myself and of other, “is this rooted in judgement or in curiosity?
I thought, over the last few months, that I had been quoting Arij Mikati of Pillars Fund, who’d used the phrase in a recent podcast interview. Perhaps it is possible that Mikati had been quoting Ted Lasso?
I wonder it if matters who said it first, since no matter it’s origin, there is extra need for us to lean into curiosity right now. It’s been a challenging fall. A challenging fall that’s followed a difficult year. A challenging fall that followed a difficult year, which came right after an unthinkable spring. A fall that has left us with many, well, challenges. And when challenges come along, judgement often follows.
Deliberating as to why this is, I did a little digging; learned that psychologically, it’s often easier to label a struggle than to really work through the challenge itself. Labeling things can make them easier to file away and to move on. Ella Alexander shared in 2020 that, particularly during the pandemic, people have had a greater quickness to judge during times of stress; that “when we’re stressed or anxious, as humans we need to find a release for those emotions and...one of those ways is criticizing others because it makes us feel good...If we shame someone else first, then it deflects from our own insecurities and internal unhappiness, and even our own fears about being judged.”
But Alexander goes on to note that while we “cannot condemn anyone for processing quickly—life really is tough enough when you think of the many things an adult must concern themselves with” there are, “some things which we do need to stop and think about…”. That since “judgement is quite base; we have to learn to understand complexity.”
In the world of education, the benefit of being curious might prove more useful than judgement from three levels.
On a Micro-Level
On a Meso-Level
On a Macro-Level
I think it was Dr. Sharroky Hollie who I first heard say that, “our first thought doesn’t have to be our last thought.” We have the ability to rethink, to rephrase. Therefore, while stress may drive us to initially judge—making it easier for us to file away our struggles and to think we have pushed past them—we don’t have to sit in that judgement. We can push through, actually push past judgement, and embrace the curiosity that sits just beyond. Curiosity, which may make it harder for us to file and move on, is what is more likely to help us find solutions, grow stronger relationships, and increase our understanding. And isn’t that what the world could benefit from?
Speaking of increasing understanding…in the aforementioned Ted Lasso episode, which I still have not seen, the quote “Be Curious, Not Judgmental” is attributed to Walt Whitman. Curious, I attempted to verify: eventually I learned that, according to Snopes, it’s misattributed. How curious.
Third Eye Education posts weekly articles focusing on education and innovation.