Work. Apparently I can't do it and not be critical. Yeah, sure, to some extent it is my job to be critical, but not in the judgmental way I sometimes am with my peers. Yesterday, when I was tired yesterday after the race, I seemed to have no control over what came out of my mouth. It was very hard and I failed miserably.
Other than work, it wasn't too much of a problem. It's an interesting experiment, sometimes, to be part of a conversation that is moving toward critical, without being critical. It does, however, take a lot of energy.
Other things I learned:
I'm calling it "criticism," but it's really being judgmental that I'm trying to avoid. Critical thinking is an important part of life. Being more tolerant is another way to look at.
When I was successful, I felt better about myself. I guess I feel bad when I say critical things about someone else, things I wouldn't want them to overhear. It also felt good to point out the good things in a situation when I could.
Criticism and creativity don't mix. I learned writing fiction. It's very difficult to read work critically and then create work freely. One seems to shut out the other.
It's a lot easier to be open-minded when you're not being critical. Forcing myself to come up with comments that weren't critical brought forth ideas I'm sure would have never occurred to me otherwise.
But the draw to the other side was strong. I'd have to focus on it all the time in order to succeed. I'm sure it would be worth the effort.
I knew when I started this challenge that I was sometimes critical of others and myself and others, but I had no idea how often, nor how much work and criticism seemed to be intertwined. And reflecting back on the week, it's easy to see how being critical stifles both creativity and compassion.
This is a challenge definitely worth undertaking, if nothing else so you can get a feel for how many critical statements come out and how different you feel when forced to change them into something neutral or positive.