This week, share a story about the rewards — and challenges — of engaging before judging.
We often exhort others — and ourselves — not to judge a book by its cover. To resist stereotypes. To give people, places, and experiences a chance before making up our minds about them. In reality, all of us come short sooner or later: it takes patience and effort to stay truly (and consistently) open-minded.
But the rewards are real. I recently chatted with Shivya Nath, the globetrotting travel blogger behind The Shooting Star, a site where she chronicles her trips and offers tips and resources for aspiring adventurers. In the resulting Discover interview, Shivya talks about her trips and her work as a self-sustaining, full-time blogger. But it was Shivya’s insights on how to approach the unfamiliar, based on numerous encounters with strangers around the world, that have really stayed with me:
I’ve come to realize that our perception of the world is seriously flawed. In Honduras, notorious for being the “most violent place on earth,” I lived with local hosts who don’t even bother locking their doors at night (their biggest fear is that the neighbor’s dog might steal their chihuahua’s food!). In my solo travels in India, I’ve witnessed overwhelming kindness from people who really don’t have much else to offer. I’ve learnt that judging a place and its people before you engage deeply is like judging a book by its cover. People from around the world, no matter how different from you and me on the surface, have the same heart and the same insecurities — and when we travel without preconceived notions, we discover that in beautiful, unexpected ways.
For this week’s Discover Challenge, share a post about a time when staying open-minded paid off — or didn’t. Or tell us about an experience where, despite your best efforts, you couldn’t quite make the necessary leap of faith. It could also be about an encounter you had where someone else gave you the benefit of the doubt, or disappointed you with a superficial judgment. Your post can come in any format or style — from a poem to a photo essay to a piece of memoir, or anything else, really. (We’re open-minded like that!)
I look forward to seeing your takes on this topic!