The Judgement Framework – (Do, not judge)

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5 min
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As a third-generation financial advisor, Tom Stadum carries on the tradition of his grandfather and father by delivering comprehensive financial plans, prudent investment strategies, and timely service.
August 26, 2023

We talked about expectations last week, and why you should plan on thinking a lot about your financial future you want to build.

This week, we’re going to be talking about overthinking and judgement.

Hang with me on this one, it’s going to be good.

If there was an action that almost everyone makes with money, it’d have to say it’s judging.

Both themselves and others.

But mostly others.

And the truth of the matter - it’s not productive or helpful.

I had the privilege of meeting a New York Times best selling author, Jon Acuff, a few months back in Arizona at an event I was speaking at / attending.

A brilliant guy doing incredible work.

He has this idea called soundtracks (here’s the link if you’d like to buy yourself a copy)

His idea revolves around overthinking but I have found this framework to be brilliant in helping me cast the correct judgement. And limit my non-productive judgements in life, and money.

Rather than just blatantly judging without thinking, I use this simple framework.

The best part, it takes like 5 seconds to do.

Here it is –

Step 0 – you find yourself in a situation where you are going to pass judgement.

Step 1 – is it true.

Step 2 – is it helpful.

Here’s an example.

My wife Camila makes a dinner that is just ok, one I wouldn’t like to eat again.

There’s two scenarios how this could play out.

Scenario 1 – the bad way – cast judgment on her without using the Judgement Framework

Step 1 – I identify this meal is not my thing – this is TRUE.

Step 2 – I tell her I don’t like this and tell her it’s gross, offending her and taking our marriage backwards.

Scenario 2 – the good way - using the Judgement framework.

Step 1 – I identify this meal is not my thing. This is TRUE.

Step 2 – Understand it is not helpful nor productive to knowingly offend her while eating, I finish the meal and thank her for it. And politely say it wasn’t my favorite due to the lack of X.

Scenario 2 wins because it isn’t helpful to ruin her evening by offending her meal she worked hard to make. Yes it’s true, I don’t like it, but it doesn’t move our family forward and hurts Camila.

Now when it comes to money, I can confidently tell you it’s almost always not worth judging somebody, other than you, because identifying what true is impossible, and pretty much always not helpful.


Someone driving a Porsche 911 either has a stupidly high car payment they actually can’t afford or they paid in cash and it’s .25% of their net worth.

You’ll never know what is true about this person, even if you know them well.

And you’ll reinforce your beliefs by either saying that person is stupid, overpaid, and a narcissist or envy after something you wish you had that they have.

Not super productive or helpful if you think about.

So in that moment of envy or bashing – use the framework. And in this case, you don’t even know what is true – so just stop at that and move on.

Now onto judging ourselves.

You should only judge yourself off the person you want to become.

Bashing your head against the wall, saying you are terrible at money, may be true, but it’s not helpful.

Bashing your head against the wall, saying “I wish I wouldn’t have bought that car,” may be true, but it’s not helpful.

Bashing your head against the wall, saying “I just will never get ahead,” probably isn’t true in the first place.

What is helpful is doing – and stopping the soundtracks we play in our heads that no one knows are playing.

Get help too, finding a tribe of people who toss these soundtracks to the side of the road and help you correctly judge how you are doing and how you can get better scaling your financial life.

Over the years, I have been horrible at judging myself and comparing myself to others.

Not something I am proud of but also know that I am extremely average in this area.

We all do it.

But I am practicing what I preach and using the Judgement Framework extensively.

Being a doer – not a judger.

And if you know me, I hope you can tell I am living out this truth.

After doing this for a few months now, my level of peace and contentment is higher and my level of commitment to the future I want to build with my team and family is higher too.

All because of these two simple questions.

Is it true?

Is it helpful?

That’s all for this week friends.

See you next week.


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Fjell Capital is a leading wealth management firm designed to deliver results for people who desire to be excellent with their finances. Starting at $125/month and a 0.75% asset management fee you can work with Fjell Capital. No asset minimums. Learn more about Fjell Capital here.
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