I'm a very judgmental person, I have been for as long as I can remember. It's certainly not a trait that I'm proud of, it's just always been easier for me to dismiss people based on superficial observations than to actually try to understand anything about them. If neither software engineering nor driving buses work out for me, I can readily imagine myself becoming a dunk tank clown, because I'm quick to recognize "flaws" with a cursory glance.* I'm sure a proper psychiatric evaluation would conclude that it stems from some deep-seated insecurity that I've yet to acknowledge, but that's entirely beside the point.
So anyway, a couple weeks ago, I'm sitting in my favorite cafe, as I often do, and I see an older gentleman playing some Anime-styled video game. My first few thoughts upon seeing this went something like, What a weirdo. Jesus buddy, get a room. Seriously, does he even realize how ridiculous he looks right now?, and so on and so forth. And normally at this point, I'd gently scold myself and make no actual effort to reform this nasty, completely unconstructive habit of mine. But on this day, I happened to be feeling a little more self-aware, and as a result, had a much more constructive response to myself, which went something like the following:
Brandon, you are straight up homeless. On a daily basis, you climb into and out of the back of a large, decrepit moving truck. You have met human beings that know this about you, and are still willing to associate with you. If everyone was as dismissive and judgmental as you are being right now, the world would be a cold, sad, awful place. Don't be such a douchebag, your insolence is toxic and is a great way to alienate yourself from all of the really interesting people in the world. More often than not, people have valid and compelling reasons for doing the things they do, and there could be an innate beauty in their hobbies and habits that you simply can't see from your admittedly limited perspective. Don't shut people out and dismiss them so blithely, at the very least, their presence will show you new ways of seeing the world.
That's that. Having a close-minded attitude towards perspectives other than my own doesn't suit me well now, and certainly won't be any more beneficial in my future travels. Applying my own Litmus Test to my actions makes it clear that I'm not doing a service to anyone with my attitude. So that changes now.
*I put "flaws" in quotes because of the idea of perfection that I discussed at the end of this post, mainly that to be flawed is to be human and to expect or want anything else is naive.in my opinion