14
Sep

Credo: I don't know their story

I am a geek, so I follow Will Wheaton. Much as I like Will Wheaton, I am no longer fond of his catchphrase "don't be a dick".

Don't get me wrong. I agree that dickishness is more than plentiful and less would be better, but DBAD seems to be something that is only said to other people. That is not really the problem. In most of the situations where I would apply DBAD, I am involved. I am often even a contributor. Despite my best efforts and those of my beloved wife and upbringing I am sometimes a dick. Sometimes people and things Rub Me the Wrong Way (pause for double-entendre) and I am a nasty, judgemental, sarcastic meany-trousers. It's not very often, but sometimes my dice land that way.

Stil, even when people are not being very nice to me, I have the opportunity and even obligation to take the better path and higher ground and sometimes I do. That is the heavy lifting. That is when a gorilla get it's wings, I get a year off purgatory and extra shiny karma.

The greatest challenge is that moment of judgement. The moment when I decide that someone is wrong, bad and a drain on the species: "cut me up in traffic!", "took it without asking!", "got in my way for no reason!", "looked at me funny!". That is when I could say "don't be a dick" to them and skip away secure in my own perfection, but it is harder, but I think better, to say "you don't know their story". You don't. I once sat in a very intensive coaching session with twelve ordinary-looking, well-paid professionals and discovered how much sadness, grief and suffering lurked in their lives. There is a lot of suffering out there that people who look no different to you are just dealing with. You have no idea, I certainly didn't.

The rude guy in the supermarket had just had a hell of day with his abusive boss. The dithering lady in the car ahead is dealing with the death of a friend but still has to pick up her children. The kid that pushed in front of you got humiliated in front of all his friends and maybe Will Wheaton's power-mad flight attendant can never have children, is facing redundancy, or  just got out of bed the wrong side this morning.

Judgement without information is just stroking off my ego and licencing me to be horrid. If we know the story, see at a real person in the wrack and fury of their world we might feel differently. We might get it, show compassion and let it ride. Life is too short.

It's a short ride on this spinning globe sweethearts: no one gets out alive. You may bump into me on this whirligig and I may be a complete dick at that time, so please remember: you don't know my story and I don't know yours. Until we do, judgement is not ours.

with Love, Tim