How many times has this happened to you:
You think about going to the gym. But you’re supposed to do something you don’t like to do.
So… you just don’t go at all.
You’ve become an Enjoyment Judge.
What is an Enjoyment Judge?
An Enjoyment Judge is when we place judgement on how much we expect to enjoy an activity. Then, this impacts what we actually do.
You don’t do a workout because “it’ll suck.” You put off your work because “it’ll be hard.” You eat that candy bar because “you’ll enjoy it.”
We all do this to some extent.
But the problem is it creates barriers in our head to actually complete the task or activity.
By labeling these activities as “easy” or “difficult” or “fun” or “so boring you could watch paint dry,” you’re effectively hurting your chances of doing it.
And worse, you’re ruining the experience itself by living in your future expectations.
I’m not above it. Hardly. I do it all the time.
But the less I judge the activity before experiencing it, the more I can actually experience it and decide what the experience actually was.
Expectations can hurt our perception of reality.
We can’t just go to the beach. On a run. Watch a show.
We expect something out of them.
The Enjoyment Judge seeks comfort. He does only that which he likes. Everything he does is about how much fun or pleasure he will get out of it.
The point is…
The Enjoyment Judge might be the reason why you haven’t accomplished your goals.
You’re An Enjoyment Judge. So What?
We keep a running tally of everything we do. Then, we typically rate the experience without even realizing we’re doing it.
- “Went on a walk last night – it went well.”
- “Worked on my business yesterday – it sucked.”
- “Dinner last night – it was okay.”
The problem is that our memories are often terrible indicators of what actually happens. (Eyewitness testimony is known in law as notoriously unreliable.)
They might be accurate to sum up the entirety of the experience. But on an individual, second-by-second level… these one words fail to really capture the depth of the experience.
For example, that walk last night could have included a bug biting you. Working on your business could have provided failure after failure, but maybe you learned something new that will help you. Dinner might have been average on the whole, but those French fries were delicious.
The point is that we remember what happens based on one word or a short ranking but we fail to capture the depth of the experience because we’re constantly ranking everything we experience.
The opposite of the Enjoyment Judge is the Professional.
The Professional does not care about the enjoyment of the activity. If it’ll help him achieve the goal, it gets done.
I have a friend who is a Professional, particularly when it comes to fitness.
He eats the foods he’s supposed to eat – regardless of whether the foods taste good. He follows his workout plan exactly as he’s supposed to – regardless if he wants to do the workouts.
If everyone did this? Everyone would be jacked, like my friend.
My friend doesn’t place any judgment on anything except for the end result. He wants to be jacked, strong, and lean. That is his end result. So, he is willing to eat chicken and veggies five times a week for dinner. Most are not so most don’t look like him.
How To Become A Professional
If we know the goal is to become a Professional, how do we go about removing our judgements from everything we experience before we actually experience it?
I am far from an expert but here are a few ways that have helped me:
This is where you’re watching your mind work. If you sit down for twenty minutes twice a day, you can see how your mind plays tricks on you. You can see how one second you will hold one opinion, the next you’ll hold a different one. You can practice getting to a place of stillness or non-judgement.
If you can become a disciplined person, you can do what you need to do even when you don’t feel like doing it. Hire a coach if you need to. The best way I know to become a disciplined person is to do 75 HARD. This is a 75-day program that will change the way you interact with yourself.
Do something with a blank mind
Remind yourself before you eat dinner you are not going to judge it. Go on a walk with no expectation of having a brilliant insight. Meet up with a friend with no expectation of the outcome.
Just do it.
When you go in with a blank mind, you are living in the present moment. And when you live in the present moment, you are more aware, more creative, and better able to handle everything life throws at you.
Can you take a step toward becoming more a Professional and less of an Enjoyment Judge?
The purpose is not to remove all feelings to live like a robot. The goal is to be able to experience your life without placing arbitrary judgment.
What you might find is you may find greater depths of enjoyment in the actual activities. You might find yourself more willing to do activities that might have sucked.
This goes for short term tasks and long-term projects. Don’t start that new coding project expecting it to belong, tedious, and impossible. Don’t begin a sports season thinking it will be so much fun and amazing.
Just let the experience play out.