Friday, October 26, 2012

Either/or Thinking Is THE Problem!

Either/or thinking and the competition that flows from it are, in and of themselves, the problem.


Thinking that there are only two sides to every story is very limiting. Not only does such thinking give power to extremists by draining it from the center, it also leads to stagnation and lack of growth.  Polarization around either ‘X’ or ‘Y’, denies most of life in the center and deprives us of the innovation and creativity vital to success.


Either/or polarization requiring people to take sides locks individuals and whole societies into non-productive traditions and orthodoxies.  Either my way or the highway!  What about all the other ways, all the other millions of possibilities? What if the blacksmiths, horse breeders and saddle-makers had the power oil and coal companies have today?  We’d still be using horses instead of horse power. 


Either/or thinking and the competition that flows from it alone, in and of themselves, keeps us from coming together and solving our problems. Either/or thinking and the competition that flows from it alone, in and of themselves, benefit the few at the expense of the many.


The decline of American power and the loss of the American dream show us the limits of either/or, win/lose thinking.  The door opens inward. If we want to see the American Dream restored, we’ve got to change how we think. We’ve got to ease off either/or thinking and the competition that flows from it, and switch to the more inclusive, flexible both/and, win/win thinking—the kind of thinking that says it’s not either my way or your way, but both ways.  Either/or thinking has a place, but not the dominant place it’s had in the past. We and the planet simply can no longer afford it. We need everybody’s talents, skills and cooperation. Turning people into either winners or losers deprives us of the ‘losers’’ talents and skills, and lately there seem to be more losers than winners.  We can’t afford that, it’s not viable and it’s not working. Enough!


Can’t we take responsibility for how we think, what we believe and how we see the world and try to think differently? The door opens inward. Can’t we try both/and, win/win thinking for a change? I think we can. After all, as Groucho said, “I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile!” And, consider this: If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got! Enough! The door opens inward. If you want things to be different, you be different. Quit looking out and blaming. Be the change you want to see! Begin shifting from either/or, win/lose thinking to both/and, win/win thinking now.

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