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We have all done it. We have witnessed someone behaving in a seemingly detrimental way, and find ourselves, for a moment or two, consumed in a state of disapproval, observing the act, perched atop a moral high horse. Sound at all familiar?

Whether this inner voice of superiority starts talking at the sight of someone smoking outside their office building, or in watching an overweight person indulge in a hefty helping of unhealthy food, we have all heard its disapproving sound loud and clear.

As a society, we tend to judge people on their regular habits, more than their occasional behaviors. We often talk about habits as being “good” or “bad.” One of the best predictors of future behavior is past behavior, so it comes as no surprise that as a society, we make assumptions about people for their so-called bad habits, and tend to revere people for their “good” ones. But by whose standards, and by whose authority, are these classifications made?

Resisting The Urge To Judge

Judgment is a natural human response. However, when we use the word judgment, it implies condemnation. Judgment is wrong when we think we are right. The judgment that gets us into trouble is the judgment that creates a comparison between yourself and another person, where you assume that you are right and that the other is wrong.

The truth is: none of us are truly in a position to judge anyone’s habits but our own.

Sometimes, the lines become blurred, as when we encounter a smoker who also happens to be a regular jogger. How does one assess that particular combination of habits? Does one negate the other in our tendency towards judgment? Which one is a greater factor in the individual’s success, perseverance and power of concentration? It is an interesting scenario. Instead of judging, however, we could opt to remain curious. When we observe the habits other people choose, we could adopt the approach as previously suggested by Heather Anderson, simply pause and think to ourselves, “That’s interesting,” and give the situation a little more contemplation.

What Do Habits Reveal?

Habits are very personal behaviors and they do reveal a lot about people. Observing habits may tell you what is important to a person. The things they do every day, the priorities they set, the rituals they adopt, are all pieces of a puzzle, of what makes an individual who they are.

Recall Gary Lockwood’s piece on Habit, in which the entity, Habit, states, “I have made all the great individuals who have ever been, great, and I have made all the losers too.” So let’s forget about judgment. Ultimately, there are habits that serve us well, and there are habits that simply don’t. Adopt a policy of curiosity about other people’s habits, rather than judgment. And above all, make sure that you are striving to turn the habits that serve you best into rituals that occur without your conscious thought.