I’ve been questioning a lot of things I read lately but even more so, I’ve been questioning my initial reaction to what I read. There are three examples of recent popular news topics where I initially agreed with the writer but then questioned myself and the writer. These recent experiences have made me aware of how judgmental we are as a society and I’m committed to change that about myself, at the very least.
Let’s get the big one over with. Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers. He’s made quite the noise lately choosing not to stand during the national anthem in protest of what he believes to be injustices occurring in our country. It’s irrelevant whether we would take the same approach or not in the same situation. I thought about it before forming my final opinion. I realized that it did not matter if I agreed with what he did or not; he did not actually do anything wrong so who am I to judge?
Furthermore, he was fighting for something he believed in and I have to respect that. He did it in his way. Yet, he is facing so much judgment and negative press for what he did. I guess that is fine. People have the right to express their opinion, right? It’s funny though that people seem to think it is okay to say the horribly nasty things they are saying about him all over the internet but it is not okay for him to take advantage of the same right given to him by our constitution. I’m choosing not to criticize him. In fact, I credit him for standing up for something he believes in, something that most people are too afraid to do. Good for him.
Ok, the next big thing: Apple. Apple announced its new products on September 7 at its live event. One of the new products is a set of wireless air buds they’re calling AirPods. They’re going for $160 and what is more frustrating is that Apple’s new phone does not have a headphone jack. I was reading an article in which the writer tore Apple apart for this. I agree that it is a lot of money for those headphones and I already have a pair that requires the headphone jack. However, I am also reminded of the scrutiny and ridicule that Apple faced with so many of their product launches in the past and yet, their products often set the stage for new technology trends.
So, I’m choosing not to criticize them because I’ll probably end up buying them sometime in the future. Maybe it is going to become the next big thing one day. I love Apple products and I’m not going to stop just because they’re now doing something a little out of my current comfort zone. There was a time that I didn’t think I needed both an iPhone and an iPad and thought that it was silly to offer both products. Why the judgment? Why not wait and see if other people like it or not? Just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world won’t like it either or that it is bad. How full of ourselves are we getting?
Lastly, I saw a post on LinkedIn by a guy I don’t know. He posted a picture of an office and a message about all of the great things he did to prepare for his new employee to start. He cleaned the office, cleaned the keyboard and mouse, got him access to everything he would need and placed a card on his desk signed by all of his coworkers. Then, the post asked what other ideas people had for him to make his employee feel more welcomed. I was about to comment and suggest that he add a nice plant and maybe an invitation to lunch with the team but I paused and decided to read the existing comments first.
I’m reading all of the comments and some of them were just outright ridiculous. People were making comments like, “Why would you want to work for this guy? He missed 10,000 things to do for his new employee” and “This guy must feel stupid for posting this and seeing all the things he forgot.” There continued to be criticism about how he missed things, rather than suggestions of what else he could do. This made me sick especially after having reflected upon the previous two examples. I decided not to add a comment with my own ideas as I had originally planned to do, which would not have been a bad thing. Instead, I complimented him for caring enough to do something nice for his new employee when many leaders don’t even get that important step right, caring. I wished him and his new employee well.
With so many important things going on in the world and in this country, how did these three things pop up as some of the most popular news stories in my feed?
After two days of reading critical articles and posts, it really sunk in what a judgmental society we have become. The thing about all of these examples is that the parties were being criticized for things that were not even a matter of right and wrong. When you think about it, these stories really did not need to cause any type of controversy or hype. In fact, all three parties were actually attempting to do something good:
- Colin making a stand for something he believes in, a life lesson we are constantly taught by our parents, our teachers and our history;
- Apple doing what it does best – being innovative, taking risks and changing the way we use technology, not being afraid that they might fail; and
- A man simply trying to create the best possible experience for his new employee.
We’re really good about quoting fancy sayings and repeating cliche life lessons like “always look for the good in people.” Yet, our society does not seem to live up to what it talks about. If we were looking for the good in people, we would have seen the positives in these three stories rather than so much of the negative. Colin, Apple and the unnamed leader did not hurt anyone or commit a crime or even do anything that is really that controversial.
I’m going to be taking more pauses to think, not just before I speak but before I even form an opinion. It would be awesome for people to join me. Look at that, we’re all doing it – I’m practicing my freedom of speech too!
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