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Be Curious, Not Judgemental

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” 

~ James Stephens

One of the most re-watched scenes of the popular show ‘Ted Lasso’ (& my favorite) is the bar scene where Ted plays a game of darts. 

You can watch it here but for now let me give you a gist of it — 

Ted, the always-optimistic American coach of an English football team, is provocatively challenged to a game of darts by Rupert, the former owner of the club. 

Rupert, who continually underestimates Ted, views this challenge as a sure win. He assumes that the American coach, seemingly out of place in an English pub setting, wouldn’t stand a chance in a game of darts.

But as the scene unfolds, there’s a twist. 

Ted is extremely skilled at darts. He wins the game & Rupert loses.

While playing the game, Ted points out a simple question from Rupert, such as “Ted, have you played darts before?”, would have revealed that he played every Sunday with his father. Such a revelation might have given Rupert a reason to not challenge Ted, potentially saving him from the embarrassing loss.

And that brings us to an important lesson: asking questions (you know what ass-uming does). Ted encapsulates this lesson by quoting Walt Whitman in the show, saying — 

“Be curious, not judgmental.”

Whether it’s at work, asking a coworker about their skills or experiences before delegating tasks, or in a personal relationship, understanding someone’s background before making assumptions about their behavior, being curious can save a lot of misunderstandings.

Before forming an opinion or making a decision, ask yourself: “Have I truly understood this?” or “What am I potentially missing out on?” This simple reflection can prevent misunderstandings, create new opportunities, and lead to better-informed choices.

Periodically reflect on recent judgments or decisions. Were they made hastily? Could more information have changed your perspective? Use this as a learning tool for future situations.

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