The Difference Between Instincts And Stereotyping

November 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Photo by Angie Rubin

I have just returned from Brazil where I was working for the last few weeks.

As it was a job, I flew business class and was privy to an interesting conversation when we finally landed. A group of people – dressed simply and in shorts – were dismayed how others during the flight had asked them what they were doing in business class.  The question came as a result of this particular group not looking the part of what we imagine a successful group must look like.

In our pre-conceived minds someone who sits in that aircraft class must look and be a certain way.  This group didn’t.

The conversation got me thinking how many times we judge others based on societal concepts.  When we stereotype we put others in a box and miss opportunities to learn and relate in different ways.  It is as if we are compelled to assign labels for easy processing.  Unfortunately the results are often erroneous.

It turned out the group in shorts was in Brazil working on the development of new technologies for petroleum exploration.  They made a good living and were very successful.  But they didn’t wear suits and ties to prove it or behaved in a particular way.

As we become more integrated with our own self we learn to substitute judging for instincts – a truer response to others and situations.

Instinct is that inner-voice that tells us if he or she is safe for us.  Or if a situation is appropriate.  Using our instincts is immensely important to our survival.  It keeps us from becoming involved in hurtful relationships or interactions.

It takes time to learn to distinct between instinct and stereotyping.  It also takes time to learn to trust that inner-voice.  But once we do it is as if we have our own portable Yoda.

Use your instincts to learn about others not societal stereotypes.  Life’s many surprises come in unique packages.

 

 

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