It is extraordinarily frustrating to live as a black-and-white thinker in a world full of grey. If we are limited to perceiving relationships, circumstances, and situations in an exclusively binary manner, we will likely end up either extremely happy or extremely upset. The only logical outcome of seeing and thinking in two dimensions is to exist at one end or the other, happy or frustrated, depending on what is currently happening around us and to us.
Binary thinking tends to discount nuance and historical context. Binary thinking tends to want answers to questions immediately. Binary thinking has very little room or understanding for others to process information, or to see another perspective. It disallows for others to answer a question with, “Yes, but…”
Oftentimes, this boxes others into corners. When people are boxed into corners, their flight, fight, or freeze response is activated, and they tend to go on the defensive. When this occurs, people tend to make decisions they don’t like or fully understand. This is the space in which heated arguments happen and relationships are damaged.
Sometimes we arrive at decisions or understand something well in advance of others. It can be frustrating to have to wait for them to “get it.” The longer we understand or believe something, the more we can reinforce it in out thinking and behaviors. The longer and more deeply we hold on to things, the greater our frustration when others either disagree or are slow to get on board with where we are.
Well, that’s just tough nuts, isn’t it?
Do we need binary thinking? Certainly. There are situations that are urgent and immediate. Fire in the house. Get out. Also, there are times when people can over-think, and not make decisions. This can hinder growth and progress.
I would argue that we need multi-directional thinking. Read about that in the next post!