What We Don't See on the Cover
We still try to fit people into these, don't we?
Liberal, conservative, black, white, rich, poor
Or maybe it's titles.
CEO, mechanic, stay-at-home parent, unemployed, overpaid
Categories, titles and labels exist to help us feel like we know a bit more about a person, or to compare ourselves to someone else.
In realty, though, the very existence of these conventions often blinds us from seeing who the individual really is, understanding their truth and embracing the best of who they are. It turns out, that in only viewing the cover, we frequently miss the content of the actual book.
I recently had this experience on my Live Inspired Podcast.
What Hill Harper Reminded Me About Judging a Book by Its Cover
Hill Harper graduated from Harvard University and now stars on the hit television show The Good Doctor. He’s acted in dozens of films and television shows, including a 9-year run on CSI: New York. People Magazine rated him as one of the sexiest men alive twice.
And in reading all that, you know what you don't know about him?
Much. You don't know very much.
If you're like me, your first thoughts on who Hill Harper is might be: Hollywood actor, rich, successful, handsome and going to big parties.
While Hill is extremely talented at his craft and sought after in Hollywood, what is also exceptional is his dedication to financial literacy and youth mentorship. He possesses an altruistic belief that we are all connected and that we should take no gifts for granted. These core beliefs were engrained in him thoughtfully by his elders, for which he is grateful.
I've rarely spoken to a more accomplished person. I've also rarely spoken to a person who is less interested in talking about his accomplishments.
And the only way I came to realize this was to actually sit down, put away distractions, and spend an hour getting to know Hill and asking him about his life. (If you'd like to hear what's right in the world and dream up ideas on how to make it even better, check out my Live Inspired Podcast interview with Hill Harper here!)
We Grow When We Stop Labeling Others
So my friend, what relationship in your life might benefit from a deeper conversation? What group of people could you stand to learn just a bit more about to help break the confines we create with unnecessary labels and boxes? (Hint: They probably don't look like you, vote with you, or worship next to you.)
While labels may help us feel like we know a bit about someone, their existence blinds us from knowing the heart of an individual, connecting with a group of people different from us, or building a bridge that allows us to not only connect with others, but to do more together than we could fathom accomplishing apart.
My conversation with Hill reminded me of this truth. It also opened my eyes to new ways to see the world and new ways to live inspired.
Because it turns out that when we judge others, we don't define them. We define ourselves.
This is your day. Live Inspired.