November 17, 2023
DatePublished: 11-17-2023 12:00:00
DateModified: 11-20-2023 10:19:03
“Be curious, not judgmental.” This phrase is generally misattributed to Walt Whitman. It’s on posters, t-shirts, coffee mugs, memes—and on the hit TV show Ted Lasso. Whitman scholars insist he never said it, but let’s focus on what Ted got right.
In the now-famous darts game scene, Ted describes to his opponent how, after seeing the quote painted on a wall, he had an epiphany about the people who always underestimated him. He realized that people who are being judgmental aren’t curious because they think they already have everything all figured out—so they end up judging everything and everyone. “If they were curious,” he says, “they would have asked questions. Questions like: ‘Have you played a lot of darts, Ted?’”
Much to the dismay of his opponent, he proceeds to demonstrate that he has, indeed, played a lot of darts by hitting three high-scoring shots in a row to win the game.
To be curious opens up a world of possibility that people busy being judgmental just never get to see.