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Growth Mindset

Discover Your Saboteurs: The Judge

the Judge the master Saboteur

Published June 04, 2024
by Positive Intelligence

Some of the most formidable adversaries you’ll face reside within your own mind. These adversaries, known as Saboteurs, are the critical inner voices undermining your confidence, creativity, and resilience.

There is one universal Saboteur, known as the Judge. This master Saboteur afflicts everyone, regardless of circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about the Judge Saboteur to discredit its lies and minimize its impact on your performance, relationships, and wellbeing.

What Are Saboteurs?

Saboteurs are deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and behavior that limit your potential and hinder your ability to perform at your best. They are internal critics that operate based on fear, self-doubt, and negative self-talk. Saboteur patterns can manifest in various forms, such as the Controller, the Hyper-Achiever, the Avoider, and more. Each Saboteur has a unique way of sabotaging your wellbeing and success.

Meet the Master Saboteur: The Judge

The master Saboteur, known as the Judge, wields significant power. The Judge beats you up repeatedly over mistakes or shortcomings. It warns you obsessively about future risks and wakes you up in the middle of the night worrying. The Judge gets you fixated on what is wrong with others or your life. 

Your Judge is your greatest internal enemy. It causes you much of your stress and unhappiness, reduces your effectiveness, and uses one or more accomplice Saboteurs to hijack your mind. 

The Judge criticizes, compares, and condemns. This tendency causes you to constantly evaluate yourself, others, and circumstances, setting unrealistic standards of perfection and fostering a mindset of constant judgment. The Judge thrives on self-criticism, leading to feelings of inadequacy, imposter syndrome, and anxiety.

How to Recognize the Judge

The Judge prompts you to find fault with yourself, others, and circumstances. When you feel disappointed, angry, regretful, guilty, shameful, or anxious, that’s the Judge’s hard work. Here’s what to look out for as the Judge tries to impose its lies and limiting beliefs on you.

The Original Survival Function of the Judge

All humans have a bias toward noticing, exaggerating, and reacting to the negative. This is a central survival strategy. It reduces your chances of being surprised and harmed by unanticipated dangers to your physical and emotional survival. Because of this crucial function, the Judge is the universal Saboteur shared by all people, regardless of the circumstances of your upbringing.

Characteristics of the Judge

Judge of Self: The Judge badgers you about your past mistakes or your current shortcomings.

Judge of Others: The Judge focuses on what is wrong with others rather than appreciating what is good and gets into inferior/superior comparisons.

Judge of Circumstances: The Judge insists a circumstance or outcome is terrible rather than seeing it as a gift and opportunity.

Thoughts Caused by the Judge

  • What is wrong with me?
  • What is wrong with you? 
  • What is wrong with my circumstances or this outcome?

Lies the Judge Tells

  • Without me pushing you, you will get lazy and complacent. 
  • Without me punishing you for mistakes, you will not learn from them and you will repeat them.
  • Without me scaring you about bad future outcomes, you will not work hard to prevent them. 
  • Without me judging others, you will lose your objectivity and not protect your self-interest. 
  • Without me making you feel awful about the bad outcome, you won’t do anything to change it.

How to Overcome the Influence of the Judge

While the Judge’s influence can be pervasive and challenging to overcome, it is possible with awareness and targeted strategies. 

Command Your Mind to Quiet the Judge

1. The first thing to remember is that if you’re in negative emotion for more than a second, you’re in Saboteur mode. You must label your thoughts and emotions at that moment as Saboteur and let them go. To be able to do that, you need to have studied your Saboteurs (including the Judge) and discredited their lies and limiting beliefs. Take the Saboteur Assessment to get started.

2. The next step is to perform a PQ Rep, which is a 10-second hyper-focus on one of your senses. PQ Reps are powerful ways to command your mind to quiet the region where your Saboteurs live and activate the region where your Sage (positive self) lives. Every time you intercept the Judge or your other Saboteurs, do PQ Reps to pause and choose a more positive response. Visit the PQ Gym to try some guided PQ Reps.

Minimize the Influence of the Judge

In addition to intercepting the Judge and performing PQ Reps, try these techniques to minimize the Judge’s influence in your life:

1. Develop Self-Compassion: Cultivate a mindset of self-compassion and understanding. Recognize that perfection is unrealistic and that mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning. Treat yourself with the kindness and empathy you would offer a friend facing similar challenges.

2. Challenge Unrealistic Standards: Question the validity of the Judge’s standards. Challenge the notion of perfection and embrace progress over perfection. Celebrate small victories and accomplishments, acknowledging that growth is a continuous journey.

3. Reframe Negative Self-Talk: Pay attention to your language when talking to yourself. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations and constructive statements. Instead of saying, “I’m not good enough,” reframe it as, “I am capable and continuously improving.”

4. Seek Feedback and Support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, mentors, or coaches who can provide feedback and perspective. Share your challenges openly and seek to explore growth opportunities.

5. Set Realistic Goals: Define realistic and achievable goals that align with your values and priorities. Break larger goals into manageable steps and celebrate progress along the way. Avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your unique journey and growth.

Embrace Self-Empowerment

Understanding your Saboteurs, particularly the Judge, is essential for personal and professional growth. By intercepting the Judge’s influence and performing PQ Reps, you can break free from self-limiting beliefs, foster a positive mindset, and unlock your full potential.

Without the Judge’s negative influence, you’ll learn to embrace your inner Sage, embrace challenges as gifts and opportunities for growth, and embrace the journey to becoming the best version of yourself.

Explore how the PQ Program for mental fitness can help you and your team intercept your Saboteurs to improve performance, team dynamics, and wellbeing.

Discover Your Saboteurs

The first step to conquering your Saboteurs is to identify them and expose their lies and limiting beliefs.

Take the Assessment
Saboteur Assessment animation

Overcome Your Saboteurs

Intercepting your Saboteurs is crucial for success, and it starts with understanding how they affect you.

Read the Blog Post