Making Our Way In the World
Our very survival depends upon how we interact with our circumstances and environments, how we work with them and in them, to meet basic human needs.
It is vitally important that we:
- Learn to perceive, assess, and make sense out of the details of various circumstances and our environment
- Learn to connect distinct and separate experiences into larger wholes
- Develop the skills necessary for making the best use of our world and our talents.
All are prerequisites for achievement and success, and our proficiency at them enables us to do good “work” in the world around us. Indeed, work, in its many and varied representations, is the thing that we, as human beings, spend most of our time doing.
As time continues its steady march, and we encounter more and more situations, circumstances, problems, opportunities, etc., hopefully we develop and advance our abilities to observe, assess, relate, connect, and ultimately to better evaluate and judge these situations and circumstances. This process of evaluating and judging is primarily based on our value structure, something that is distinctive and unique for each of us.
An important and influential component of our value structure relates to our ability to evaluate and judge circumstances and situations specifically within our work environments.
Some people, for example, notice things in incredible detail and are attuned to the intricacies and minutiae taking place around them, particularly subtle, underlying happenings and occurrences. They are well aware of the “trees” in the “forest”.
Some people are very responsive to other people, alert and empathetic to the feelings of others.
Some people are very good at conceptualizing, and can repeatedly come up with new ideas.
Some people move beyond conceptualizing, to actualizing their work and ideas, they are the excellent executors who “get things done”.
Some people are good at all of the above, and some people excel in only certain areas of external-world, work related judgments.
Those individuals who are able to perform effectively at these and other highly judgment-dependent activities, comprehending important issues and ideas, completing tasks effectively and efficiently, working well with others, and ignoring inconsequential distractions, are much more likely to reach their goals and achieve professional success.
A second important component within your value structure, in addition to your ability to evaluate and make strong judgments regarding work, is the degree of importance you place on your work. The level of importance that you place on work is highly personal. It has a large impact on your attitude toward work, your ability to deal with difficult work related problems, and your ability to cope with work related stress.
Without a doubt, the level of importance you place on work has a tremendous influence on your work-related behaviors.
The judgments included within these two components of your value structure we refer to as your outward looking, external world judgment, or simply as your work-side judgment.
The underlying core structure of your work-side evaluative judgment abilities is the judgment you use to interact within the workplace and the world at large. Why is this so important? Because well-developed, strong, work-side judgments provide the underpinning or springboard upon which your professional skills have an opportunity to excel to their highest levels of performance, proficiency, and accomplishment.
For example, for the aviator, strong work-side judgment may be all that stands between a safe landing, and disaster.
If you are a teacher, strong work-side judgments enable you to guide your students from poor behavior and academic failure to a place where they desire to learn and want to harness the benefits of a good education.
As a CEO, manager, or consultant, strong effective work-side judgments and decisions may be the primary catalyst that helps reverse a negative, downward trend, or takes a company to new levels of success.
Conversely, unfortunately, weak areas of judgment are a menace, ready to strike, often without warning. Poor judgment may overwhelm and obliterate aviation skills to nothing more than a heap of ill-begotten decisions and poor choices. Poor judgment is often to blame for yet another pilot-error induced crash and burn tragedy, perhaps another bankrupt company, or perhaps another life less well lived.
Fortunately, if we have weak judgments in our external-world value structure, they can be improved upon. It takes determination and work, but it can be done, and is well worth the effort.
CDR Barry W. Hull, USNR (Retired)