By Gong San Ho
Thinking of black and white I thought of the term cognitive dissonance.
It’s an interesting and ingenuous human trait (and many people do it automatically).
It basically comes down to reducing or rationalize the unpleasant tension that arises when knowledge of facts or opinions are contrary to ones own belief or opinion.
It can also be based on behavior that is contrary to ones own beliefs, values and norms. It is in other words, the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions, where the word cognition can be knowledge, attitude, emotion, belief or behavior.
The way we reduce it is by fitting it into what we already know, reducing the negative feeling.
The interesting question that arises is: “What would we do when we didn’t have that belief(-system) or opinion. Or when we didn’t have fear in embracing new things.
That of course is the downside of cognitive dissonance. It’s that we try to explain new, disruptive, positively life changing experiences as well, with what we know.
But because it’s new and disruptive, but does that necessarily mean that they are bad? Of course not. It’s just new. But being aware of this trait already will make a difference, just because you read this sentence and that is great!
A few funny examples: When Henry Ford was asked whether people were actually waiting for an automobile he said no.
When you ask people what they want, they’d say a faster horse, so I just made it. The result we all know of course, he created the first in series produced T-Ford and sold millions of them.
Same for Steve Jobs of Apple. He said, don’t ask people what they want, because they don’t know. And when they give an answer it is based on what they know, or old. That’s why he introduced the iPod in 2001 (in the midst of an economic crisis) …
It is even said that the Inca’s weren’t able to see the Spanish armada, laying for the coast, due to the fact that their brains just weren’t able to see it, because it had never seen anything like it before.
That doesn’t mean new ideas, situations, opinions, experiences are bad. It just means we need to adapt to new concepts, to new ideas. We have to overcome the fear of the unknown. Creating a new or revised beliefs, values and norms, instead of hanging on to the old ones.
Be aware, that the only way to grow, the only way to go the next level, the only way of becoming a new and improved you, is by deliberately becoming more creative.
Literally meaning ‘Creating your new reality’. Embracing new opinions, knowledge and behavior. Believe me, it is much more fun.
Not black, not white, just looking for the brightest colors in between.