We have a tendency to follow the pack and the trends because of “so and so who’s friends with Oprah said so”. Or because we’ve labelled ourselves as part of a group, party or a movement.
THE DOWNSIDE OF BELONGING TO A GROUP
We are a pack animal, belonging makes us feel safe. But decision making that is tied to the group mentality can keep us from making any progress.
Following a political party line comes to mind as the best example where (sometimes) poor individual decisions are made only because they go with the party line or even worse, only because the decision goes against the opposing party. In these scenarios the person is not looking what’s best for the country but what’s the best for the party, or what is the party line on the topic in question.
It always amuses me how the other main political party can always think all of the decisions made by the opposing party are wrong. I mean, both parties are trying to build a better country (I think). Surely they agree on some topics. But they can’t admit it, therefore keeping the country from progressing at a rate that it otherwise would.
Our world view is limited by of our exposure.
Same line of thinking happens in health and fitness. Let’s say that I hate everything about Crossfit. When something worth learning would come out of the Crossfit community I’d ignore and judge it without looking deeper into it, just because of who said or where it came from. I would possibly miss a great learning opportunity.
Our world view is limited by of our exposure. If a certain way is all you know it doesn’t matter how hard someone is trying to convince you otherwise. It’s a waste of verbal ammunition.
THE ANSWER DOESN’T HAVE TO BE “YES” OR “NO”
Now, you have the opportunity to gain more wisdom and knowledge if you can look at everything without judging it based on who said it. Only then should you make a decision whether you agree or disagree. Maybe you agree parts of it and disagree with other parts. Instead of going “everything about so and so is BS”.
But it’s challenging since we all like black and white, “yes” or “no” answers because it draws clear lines between two options. It’s easier and safer to stick to the one side instead of trying to navigate your way in the grey-section.
But sticking to one side is not about being brave. It’s being lazy as it requires less critical thinking. But as is with life so is with health and fitness, if you avoid dancing around the grey you’ll alienate a lot of your opportunities.
Sticking to one side is not about being brave. It’s being lazy as it requires less critical thinking.
If you base your decision making on rightness vs wrongness or being personal vs rational you are likely to get sidetracked from what the answer really is. You are biased towards a way of thinking before you have even thought of the the alternatives. The answer seems obvious when it’s far from it.
HOLD NO ALLEGIANCE
What we need to do instead is to keep an open mind and be willing to challenge our thinking when new and compelling information emerges. We have to admit that we’ve been wrong. And that can be a hard thing to do because it takes vulnerability.
When you hold no allegiance (e.g. party, group or a movement) you treat each decision separately regardless of what you might think of other topics. You can learn about new things without the preconceived judgement.
We like labels and being part of a group, but once you categorize yourself it’ll cloud your thinking. Be an independent thinker instead. That’s how you gain true wisdom.