The Disaster of Black and White Thinking
Updated: Sep 7, 2020
You're either a winner or a loser. Fit or fat. Strong or weak. Famous or unknown. Lucky or unlucky. Expert or incompetent. So quickly our thinking jumps from one extreme to the next. One failed attempt doesn't quantify our efforts as useless. One over-indulged meal doesn't negate the healthy meals that led up to it. One failed marketing attempt doesn't mean the idea is worthless. You see where I'm going with this?
When we only think in extremes, we subject ourselves to living in a purely reactive state. Hot or cold. Good day or bad day. Each day is a surprise mix of emotions totally dependent on situations. It's hard to stay level-headed and have clarity when we only offer ourselves two ways to see things.
There are more than two perspectives available to us.
What would it look like if you approached the major areas in your life and instead of thinking in black or white you tried to see the middle ground? Do you think you'd feel less defeated? Do you think you'd find more energy to keep trying? Do you think you'd see the good, the bad, the opportunity and the encouragement?
It is possible and highly plausible for you to have an incredible idea for your life and/or business and it not be an immediate success. Instead of thinking that the failed launch means the idea is a bust, what if you opted to attempt it again with a gray mindset? You have a good idea that you're passionate about, but it needs some adjusting to take off and produce the results you imagined. You can also be a fit, healthy person and still struggle with overeating and poor food choices. We are so quick to throw away our successes at the sign of failure when we only operate in the black and white.
On the flip side, you can use extreme thinking to give you a false sense of security . Something being successful may not be an indicator that your systems and processes need no adjusting and you've cracked the code. Wins don't mean that you're the expert - ouch.
Black and white thinking is rarely, if not never, to our benefit and often to our detriment. I encourage you today to seek the gray. Fight to find it. Identify where your thoughts go to extremes. With everything, there is an opportunity to lean into humility and embrace finding the middle ground - the gray.
(self-awareness is a great place to start. find your biggest strengths in 10 minutes, click here)