In an era marked by seemingly insurmountable divides, the urgent need for unity becomes apparent. The prevalent mindset of "either-or" has entrenched societies in ideological battles, political polarization, and social strife. It is time for a paradigm shift, a transition from divisive thinking to a more inclusive "and" mindset. Here a few thoughts about where this shift is imperative for our global community.
I’ve hired, trained and developed people for most of my career, at points leading a team of close to 100 people, living in four cities, with the goal of being a high-performance team, with everyone performing at their highest level toward a common goal. It would have been foolish to be pointing out where we all differ. And differ we did in so many ways. We used a variety of tools including a profiling tool called the Myers-Briggs or MBTI.
One of the primary dichotomies in the MBTI profile is extroversion vs. introversion. Extroverts are energized by social interactions, while introverts recharge through solitary activities. Maturity in this dimension involves recognizing the value of both. Striking a balance ensures that individuals can thrive in social settings when necessary and find solace in moments of introspection.
I’m convinced that maturity can be understood as the ability to flexibly engage with different aspects of one's personality, recognizing both strengths and weaknesses. The concept of the ‘flight to the middle’ encapsulates the idea of striving for a balanced expression of personality preferences. Instead of being rigidly confined to one's natural tendencies, maturity involves navigating the spectrum of each dichotomy, acknowledging the richness that lies in embracing both ends.
Taking this thought to a societal level is what gives our world it’s colour and complexity. The world has to shift from “or” to “and”. Here are a few examples of some of the areas where AND is needed in our current environment. Political left or right, climate believer or denier, state control or private control, parent leading decisions or school leading decisions, justice for the victim or perpetrator, public service or private delivery, fossil fuels or renewables. The list is endless.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator offers a valuable framework for understanding and navigating the complexities of human personality. In the journey towards maturity, individuals can embrace the concept of the flight to the middle, finding balance in the spectrum of their personality preferences. By acknowledging and integrating both ends of each dichotomy, individuals can cultivate a more balanced and adaptable approach to life, fostering personal growth and resilience in the face of diverse challenges.
The world stands at a critical juncture where the divisive "or" must give way to the unifying power of "and." Embracing the complexity and interconnectedness of various perspectives can lead to a more resilient harmonious global society. It is time to transcend the limitations of either-or thinking and forge a path that embraces the richness of diversity, finding strength in the synthesis of seemingly opposing ideas. Seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood.
As Al Pacino said in his famous speech in the movie Any given Sunday, “… either we heal, now, as a team or we will die as a team”.