Hey there, friends! Confession- My desk is a mess, and I absolutely hate cleaning it. So I have a system to do it quickly, and efficiently. I group pencils with pencils, paper with paper, and paperclips with paperclips, you get the picture. And in no time the hidden surface of my desk reappears. Compartmentalizing our things is an easy way to organize, but our brains are wired to compartmentalize information to make sense of the world around us -as a mental shortcut. However, this is where the problem begins. When we categorize things to understand them and throw them into a box we can create unconscious biases AKA stereotypes. Stereotypes are bad because they oversimplify and generalize entire groups of people, which can lead to unfair and harmful treatment based on characteristics. Not a big deal if you're a ballpoint pen, a huge deal if you're a person.
Now, here's the thing: If you have a brain, you have a bias. Unconscious biases are the attitudes and beliefs we don't even realize we carry. They can cause us to make decisions based on preconceived notions we gathered from others, often shaped before we're even old enough to realize them. As we work towards our goals, it's essential to be aware of these biases that can hold us back.
Take, for instance, the "I'm not good at math" bias. It may stop you from filling out financial paperwork for your goal of owning a business. The "I'm not good at talking to large groups" bias could deter you from meeting with a group of leaders that could help you launch your new idea. And the "I'm not good at dancing" bias could create anxiety around your vision of preparing for your dream wedding with a first dance that everyone will admire.
It's time to pay attention to the personal narratives of yourself and others. It's time to allow yourself to hold the role you never believed possible. It's time to challenge your assumptions, rephrase any blanket statements, and ditch box-thinking. Instead, measure on merit, actively seek diverse perspectives and challenge your biases. Pencils go in labeled boxes, not people. When it comes to people the messy desk is a good metaphor, let them sit where they are, no label needed.
By taking these steps, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for the world, ourselves, and our goals. So let's work on becoming more aware of our unconscious biases and work towards a better future together.
Thanks for reading, friends!