Prejudice and Pride by Jim Stovall

Image 1 (10).jpg

All of us want to be accepted and valued by those around us. This acceptance is based upon other people’s judgments. They can judge us on how we look, how we act, or how we perform.  

Possibly the best way to judge and be judged came from Dr. Martin Luther King’s powerful dream that his children be judged based on the “content of their character.” This is a difficult judgment to make as it takes a lot of time, effort, and energy. Unfortunately, too many people in the world don’t make the commitment to honestly judge everyone, and therefore, they engage in the practice of prejudging or prejudice. This is highly inaccurate, fallible, and dangerous. At its best, prejudice is a lazy mental shortcut.  

I am a white, male American who makes my home in Oklahoma. I am blind, I’m an author, I’m an entrepreneur, and I am a former Olympic weightlifting champion. Each of these individual elements and countless others can be the basis for someone to prejudge me. Their prejudice could be more favorable than I deserve or less favorable than I deserve but will rarely, if ever, be accurate.  

Pride is how we judge ourselves. Much like our judgment of others, our judgment of ourselves is rarely authentic and accurate without a considerable amount of effort, energy, and contemplation. We can have pride in our accomplishments such as graduating from college; we can have pride in our affiliations such as being an American; or we can have pride in our associations such as our faith, family, and friends.  

Having a proper amount of pride in these things can be very positive as we rarely outperform our own self-image; however, false pride is among the most damaging, debilitating, and destructive human emotions. When we engage in false pride, we often inaccurately compare ourselves to others or a distorted image of ourselves.  

I find it highly beneficial if not imperative to have a trusted group of mentors, advisors, and accountability partners who help me to accurately judge myself and my performance. We can only be judged or judge ourselves against the image of who we know we should be based on our ability and our life goals.  

When it comes to judging others, my late, great friend and mentor, the legendary Coach John Wooden, often said, “There’s enough good in the worst of us and enough bad in the best of us that it doesn’t behoove any of us to judge anyone.” I believe this is a standard worth aspiring to. 

As you go through your day today, judge yourself with grace and everyone around you with mercy. 

Today’s the day!  

This and other motivational pieces by bestselling author Jim Stovall can be found in his latest collection of columns, Wisdom for Winners Volume Four, an official publication of the Napoleon Hill Foundation.