Blink. Life happens. Blink again. A new moment. Blink.
Do we ever stop and think about how time affects situations? No, I’m not referring to thinking about how time is flying by, but about how time affects a situation; how in a second life can change. Do we ever think about how we so quickly judge people or incidents without understanding the context? We assume people are racist or sexist or immoral because they act or react to one (Yes, ONE) scenario differently to how we believe we would behave (not stopping and saying, “I do not know everything about this person. I do not know what drove them to act in this manner”).
We have so much access to information and for many of us, Google is our friend but “we have come to confuse information with understanding”1 and the lightbulb went on in my mind. This was close to the end of the book, “Blink” and while many fairy lights were flickering while reading it, it was not until I re-read that sentence that the whole house of lights lit up. We pre-judge and in times of life or death this is what we need but if we could slow down time and use our past experiences to help understand as opposed to judge, we’d be able to not jump to the wrong conclusions so hastily and see people for who they really are: human beings with souls made up of bad and good intentions; never solely purely good or purely bad.
As Gladwell states, “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”2 Oh, another house of lights is lit up now.
Imagine a world in which we could encounter a new experience, as exactly that, a new experience…instead of using our past experiences and judgments to already pre-determine an outcome or scenario; we could use it to slow down and make the better call. How often do we go into conversations or meetings or make phone calls already pre-empting if it will go well or not because of past experiences instead of flipping it upside down and making that phone call so that, based on all experiences to date, one would be ready for any outcome? It seems less stressful to be honest and way less anxiety provoking. The worst that will happen – there’d be a learning curve with a new experience to add to my many other experiences.
I read this quote recently and it was along these lines, “ I don’t trust words. I even question actions. But I never doubt patterns.” And the only way to see patterns is through experience. And practice. And more experience. And remember once in a while to blink too.
1. Gladwell M.BlinkPenguin Books.2006: 264.
2. Gladwell M.BlinkPenguin Books.2006: 265.