Letter no 56 - Good judgement

How do you decide when the boiling potato is cooked?

The peel slides off easily. You poke it with a fork and see how easily the fork slides in.

There is some technique and some judgement involved in the act. Unless you have done it a few times, and unless you have actually ended up with uncooked or over-cooked boiled potato a few times, your judgement won’t be perfect.

Judgement is acquired after several rounds of trial and error, along with active efforts to understand and improve.

This was just a boiled potato, but judgment is a valuable asset.

You don’t just get paid for your hard work. In fact, the higher you rise in your career, you get paid for your judgement. Others do the hard work.


A doctor’s good judgement can save the patient.

A counselor’s good judgement can prevent the couple from a bitter battle.

A teacher’s good judgement can help the child find what they love.

A scientist’s good judgement can create a miracle of technology.

A parent’s good judgement can be difference between confidence and self-doubt.

A business-person’s good judgement can keep the team empowered and the company profitable.

A friend’s good judgement can help one get out of a messy place in one’s life.

Good judgment is valuable.


Judgement is not the same as "judging".

Judgement is a combination of experience + ability + clarity.

It is acquired slowly and painstakingly. It is intuition + sense.

Judgement is why you can’t learn some things only by watching videos or reading books. You need a teacher’s judgement.

Judgement is why you cannot navigate life and relationships only by reading self-help books. You need a loved one’s touch to help you make sense.

Judgement is what stops a doctor from going ahead with a particular treatment or a musician from adding that one extra layer of beats.

Judgement is what tells a parent to give space to the kid, although every part of their being wants to probe further.

Judgment is valuable.


Develop a good judgement in things that are important to you in your life.

Here are a few suggestions on how to go about the same:

  1. Spend time serving and being with people you believe in having good judgement.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (ones that won’t kill you).
  3. Take time to reflect on what you learned.
  4. Discuss your experiences with others who have good judgement.
  5. Look for a variety of perspectives on matters that are important.
  6. Be clear about what is important to you and what your values are.
  7. Take time to understand the "why" behind the thing that you are doing.
  8. Make an effort to understand how things work.
  9. Be willing to be proven wrong.
  10. Don’t be defensive about your ideas. Be assertive but not defensive. Find a better way to communicate with others.


Great chefs are not fearful of giving their recipes to others. They know that the recipes are not enough. You need good judgment to really create those delicious dishes!

What aspects of your life do you want to develop good judgement in? My inbox is open to your responses :).

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