It's Not All Black & White

It's Not All Black & White

My friends turn to me for advice because I refuse to give them middle of the road advice, and I can't stand the idea of telling them only what they want to hear.

But a few years ago, after hearing the advice I gave, a friend told me something that forever changed how I think.

"Whenever you give me advice, you only ever give two options. This way, or that way."

I wanted to disagree, but I realised they were on to something. Even if I gave them 'multiple options' they fit pretty neatly into two camps.

This way, or that way.

I was falling prey to binary thinking.

Binary thinking is our brains way of processing what's good, and what's bad after millennia of decision making and the resultant errors.

In the moment it's easier to process something as either good or bad than it is to work out the finer details.

Our brain sends new information to two places simultaneously. The cerebral cortex, in charge of logical decision making, and the amygdala, in charge of our emotional response.

Unfortunately, the amygdala makes its decision first.

We decide emotionally whether we like something, before our cerebral cortex can even judge what it is.

Today's world is far less black and white than the world of our ancestors. Nuance and shades of grey are the currency that we deal in.

Our gut decides emotionally what we think of something first.

We need to let our logical brain have a say too.