Are you quick to judge others on how they look, how they are dressed or how they speak?
Do you value others on how rate them as being worthy or significant?
If so, then you are not the only one. We all go through life constantly making judgements about others based on mainly superficial things such as their clothes, hairstyle, the car they drive, where they live, what they do for a living, their friends and so on. You get my point.
As a result we are so quick to cross people out of our paths whereas simply by taking time to connect with those people you normally discount, your life could be dramatically enriched and you will learn a lot.
I recently wrote a post about why you should always stop to listen to music, and this proved to hit the right note with a lot of readers (excuse the pun!).
So yes, once should certainly stop to listen to musicians and give yourself a break. But what about listening to the music within other people.
Just how often do you truly stop and fully appreciate other people?
I was reminded of this yet again this morning when I got talking to an African gentleman on a London train.
If you ever been on a London train, you will know how it’s just not seen to be the done thing to talk to anyone else. You simply stick your head in a book, a newspaper or stare into space as if no one was around you!
Instead, there I was talking to this statesmanlike man who looked lost. I directed him to the right train and as I was going partly the same direction, I chatted to him for about ten minutes.
It turned out this gentleman was from Gambia, West Africa and was now visiting his children, having retired from a senior role in the UN. I really enjoyed talking to this noble man and felt richer for the experience of having met him.
He was also most grateful when I gave him a copy of my book “Get the Life you Love” as a gift for him and his children.
Now how easy is it to make connections and spread a little bit of goodness.
My point is this – everyone has a lot to offer. Everyone has a talent – no matter how obscure or raw. Every human being is a magnificent being and capable of so much.
So often we judge the proverbial book by its cover and we judge people by their appearance.
For instance, and this is confession time, since I became better at blogging and recognising what makes a blog good, I have had to almost stop myself from switching off straight away when I visit a blog that on first appearances doesn’t have an appealing design.
And I am now learning to read the content and read more about the blogger before allowing my judgemental mind to kick in.
Similarly in real life, we so often we dishonour and almost discard people from our lives simply from first appearances – either because we are so busy and focussed on our own lives, but quite often also because we do not deem them worthy of our attention.
This reminds me of this beautiful story I first read about 20 years ago, when I first became interested in personal development.
“Touch of the Master’s Hand,” by Myra Welsh
It was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar,” then, two! Only two?
“Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
“Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three . . . “But no,
From the room, far back, a grey haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a carolling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice;
And going and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of potage,” a glass of wine;
A game, and he travels on.
He is “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
– Myra Brooks Welch
So here is my invitation to you all – from today onwards, treat every person you meet as the greatest and most interesting human being on the planet.
And you know what, give them your presence and your time, and they will grow into your highest vision for them.
You can be the master and with your touch, you can raise the people in your life to the highest levels possible.
Taking my musical analogy further, here’s a great quote from Jimi Hendrix:-
“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music”. – Jimi Hendrix
Positive and dramatic change can happen in the world, if more of us begin to hold a higher vision for ourselves and others.
Let’s begin today.
Photos courtesy of aldenchadwick, MattJP and Jean-Baptiste Bellet
There is nothing to disagree with here. It’s written in exquisite form. Appearances should not be a form of judgment for character and more so for talent. And is there a reason you are teasing me iwth my most favorite instrument of all, the violin? 🙂
Farnoosh, welcome to my blog again.
I am glad I was able to tease you with your favourite instrument the Violin – maybe one day I shall get to hear you play it:-)
I couldn’t agree more.
It’s so true that most of us go through life missing out on getting to know some incredible people because at first glance they don’t meet with our approval in some way. How sad to fence off your little world and allow only those that meet a certain outer standard into it. Like your experience meeting the Gambian gentleman – you’re the richer for it.
Thank you for this wonderful message!
Angela, indeed our life is so much richer due to the people we meet along the way. It just takes a moment to connect with them – and your life may never be the same again.
When I attend a networking or social event, I now challenge myself and I go and talk to the person who I would have previously least wanted to talk to. I shall write another article about this soon.
The poem brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing this Arvind. Perhaps you have some tips to share about stepping outside our comfort zone to talk to other people so that we can discover their music.
Alison, its not often that people cry after reading one of my blog posts!
I shall certainly write an article soon with my tips about steping outside our comfort zone to talk to other people so we may discover their music.
Watch this space…
So true Arvind. We judge too quickly. Sometimes it’s because we’re busy or see something on the outside that we think we don’t value. So many times, the person inside it worth knowing or at the very least, worth a friendly acknowledgment. Everyone has a worthy story.
Katie, yes everyone has a worthy and rich story inside them, if ony we give them a chance to share it. And then our own story could be that much richer as a result.
I wrote a post recently called “Do Past Actions Matter?” about valuing people as you find them today, not because of the bad (or good) they’ve done in the past.
This is the same message from a different perspective. I like to see the convergence.
If we always hold everyone in the highest regard possible, it really can make a difference in the world.
Gip, you have brought up an important point – how does one get over our prejudice and judgements based on a person’s past? How does one forgive and forget?
I think the trick is to see each person as if we are meeting them for the first time – quite a challenging thing to do, but a lot of personal development paths and spiritual teachings teach us that this is the way – everyone is reborn every moment.
If you think about it, our whole perception of anyone we know is based on what we have known about them in the past – and with that comes a whole plethora of grievances, judgements and negative feelings. Just imagine what it would be like we can just wipe the slate clean everytime we meet someone again!
Then we would really create a space for us to see each person in their full glory.
Never judge a book by its cover – or should that now be ‘never judge a blog by its design’?
Topi, well said!
I shall remember never again to judge a blog by its design:-)
PS Whatever happened to your blog?!
This is totally about me…. 🙁 Well I gonna start today…
Ales, welcome to my blog – and I look forward to learning more about how you get on with recognising the greatness in others and also in yourself:-)
Arvind , this article is a gift.
We must look for the best in others as well as the best in ourselves .
Savitha, I am delighted to share this gift with you.
May you continue to look for the best in others always:-)
My take on “treat every person you meet as the greatest and most interesting human being on the planet.” is to be sure and start with yourself.
Recently I reached out to a person, who turned out to be without boundaries and not respectful of my privacy.
I had to do some heavy duty boundary setting. This person did not want to take no for an answer.
Finally, we have a relationship in structured environments and they have learned that’s where it ends.
They are very interesting, intelligent and have a lot to offer and I am entitled to my private life.
Purplume, yes must start with yourself.
So often, others can see your greatness whilst you yourself can’t!
And yes people can challenging and its important to have your own boundaries – and this comes back to knowing yourself well enough to know what’s best for you.
Noble, caring words Arvind. The talent we see and awaken in others is the mirror for our own. A better world begins by encouarging the light and brilliance in others. It reminds me of the words of the late Jim Rohn; “Put people up, not down”. Your post does just that.
Thanks John for sharing Jim Rohn’s words.
Another take on this is the only time you should look down on someone is when you are helping them up.