Are you just ecstatic when someone tells you, “If you had just…”? *eye roll*

Just is one of the words which smacks of I told you so without saying aloud You should have known I am the expert in that.

Just implies simplicity in its misuse. The person who says it really meant something along these lines:

If you had first…

  • consulted me…
  • known of the pitfalls…
  • had the right/enough resources…

you would have spared yourself (pain, time, debt).

The response which (inappropriately?) leaps to mind (from the heart) is

What gives you the right?

No one, wait… let’s clarify, NO ONE can act on knowledge they neither have nor can speculate. With all the negativity in that sentence it may be difficult to understand.

A. If one knows a friend has knowledge (pick a subject), one often goes to the friend to harvest precisely what the friend has on offer, and anything remotely associated, as a matter of due diligence.

B. If one has sufficient information, the pitfalls of most situations are obvious or discernible.

C. If one has the correct resources in sufficient quantity, one does not need help to gather them.

What we don't know

“Just” statements assume a lot of facts not in evidence. If you had just asked assumes the speaker was forthcoming in his/her abilities, knowledge base and experience. If you had just known assumes the person taking action did not look closely enough at the possible outcomes. If you just had X assumes the person taking action chose to have incorrect or insufficient resources.

For the moment, let’s call the Just speaker “Judge”, despite there being nothing just about the statements. Let’s call the person taking action “Actor”.

Judge takes a place of vanity in the assumption Actor would have known about Judge’s ability and willingness to share information. Judge may not grasp Actor’s intimidation. Actor may simply have had no reason to associate Judge with the action. Most likely, Actor did not know his information was not all of the necessary information.

Magnifying Glass ClipartActor may have talked to others or studied to see where the possible pitfalls were. Merely because the information on which Actor based choices was incorrect does not mean Actor did the wrong thing. Judge washes his hands of responsibility by denying he took no interest in participating in Actor’s information-gathering phase.

Judge does not have sufficient knowledge to know how Actor gained the resources on hand. Does Judge know the money spent took three months to save? Does Judge know the time commitment cost Actor the lone summer week he gets to spend with his children? Does Judge know the physical exertion put Actor in the bed for four days when it was over? Judge’s dismissive attitude over the costs makes Actor less likely to seek Judge’s advice or help in the future.

Do we?

On which side of the equation do we most often find ourselves? Actor wants what is best for (himself, others, family). Actor is following the heart. Judge speaks from the mind, in retrospect, without empathy for Actor’s situation.


When looking back at the things we have done, it is easy to find fault. Weighing the costs and outcomes is a simple task for the mind. How often does the mind take into consideration the heart when doing the cost/benefit analysis? Calculating the worth of passion is difficult. Arguably, intent also has value or it would have no bearing in our jurisprudence.

How often does the analysis gut a victory? Actor may have been satisfied with the result until Judge interjected the ability to do it with more alacrity or ease or less cost.

Each of us gives the heart and mind different leeway in our decision-making processes. To stand on higher ground than another strictly on the basis weighing mind (experience, knowledge, logic) over heart (passion, intent, conviction) fails to value the human in the equation.

Naked cats. Each of us must realize there is more than one way to skin them. Occasionally, the most expeditious route is not the most fulfilling one to take.

How often is Judge a parent and Actor a child? How do judgments of the mind affect the future motivation of the heart?

Hashtags: #choices #judgment

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  1. We rarely evaluate both sides of the equation, rarely weigh both heart and mind. If our heart is engaged we give it greater weight, it is that simple. We forget I think in judging ourselves or others all the other attributes of our humanness.

    (I hate you like button).


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