Monday, March 2, 2015

Anti-Digital Mindset: A Superficial Thinking

 The depth of perspective and strength of character is what make one's thinking profound!

Many say superficiality has gone global. The western thinking (psychology) is dominated by quantity and silo, and doesn't reason on quality and holism; and the eastern thinking (philosophy) is too ancient to adapt to the change, with culture quintessential and feudalistic residues co-existing. To change or not to change, are human as race destined to be superficial? There's enough wrong with the business & the world; and enough fractions within specific ideologies, why does superficial thinking cause the short-sighted vision with kind of blindness in understanding things, and how to fix it?

Superficiality is the very reason to make the world disconnect. Superficiality means to focus on just symptoms, not root causes; only catch the conventional understanding of content, not the contextual insight beneath the surface; the quantity over quality; the close-mindedness, the stereotypical thinking or pre-conceived ideas about how things should happen; or to put simply, it's just skin deep. Due to the cognitive gaps and cultural limitation, in all fairness, we are all biased in varying degrees and sometimes, we aren't even aware of our own biases, it seems people all over the world are wearing “blinders,” each person’s myopia shuts them off from a reality to some degree. The labels and judgments we place upon each other, are nothing more than barriers that keep us disconnected from one another. So now, the oceans, the mountains, and the dessert can not separate us due to the latest technologies, but superficiality is the very reason to make the world disconnect…


Remove the old thinking habits, and add the new thinking ingredients, to overcome superficiality. There is no magic “thinking sauce” to make one’s mind profound, but learning, delearning, relearning; and continuous learning are the healthy cycles to make one’s view fresh and keep one’s mind sharpened to adapt to the digital speed of the changes:
Remove: Conventional thinking as a sole path.
Add: Perspective from right brain: intuition, creativity, innovation -learn a method to do it!
Remove: reactive thinking and negative self-talk.
Add: proactive consistent grace-filled interactions no matter what is the situation.
Remove: stereotypical thinking or prejudging others by their physical identity.
Add: listening empathetically to others to connect the minds and hearts.
Remove: Silo thinking of seeing the tree, without forest; or extreme thinking to see only black & white;
Add: Systems thinking as the ability to mentally connect all of the different components of a given problem according to their actual working patterns in order to discover the optimal solution to the problem holistically. This is how we transform the complex into simple, define specific solutions, stimulate commitment, and achieve better results.


To cure superficiality, the old cliche comes to mind: two sides to a coin; one complements the other; All wisdom has some paradoxical theme.The critical thinking (constructive “negativity”) followed by positivity is necessary, to point out blind spots. There are moments in life when an individual must be cold hearted: known as tough love; other times selfishness enables a teenager to deal with the pressures of peer judgment. Doubtfulness can guide a being from a negative outcome. Skepticism enforces confidence. Indirect metaphor highlights the core of the direct conversation. Selfish-selfless, doubtful-confident, kind-cold-hearten; optimistic-cautious, etc. are all healthy cycle to make mind profound and thoughtful.


"Don't judge a book by its cover" is not just an oxymoron. Ironically, we probably all learned as kids "Don't judge a book by its cover," but, unfortunately, we do live in an increasingly "profiled" world that does judge a book by its cover. Workplace management is a microcosm of the larger society and that we are participating knowingly or unknowingly of the perpetuation of our biases and prejudices, the stereotypical thinking and conventional wisdom. Isn't this related to our self-preservation mechanisms? Isn't it easier to point out the negatives in others to feel better about ourselves? Is it harder to acknowledge the positive in others because it makes oneself feel inferior as human beings? We cannot expect different results if we continue participating in the same culture-the collective mind and behaviors. we are all more inclined to be negatively critical than positively objective because it is easier to identify what is different from oneself than what is the same. We are creatures of our gene pool, so we are hardwired to seek out groups of similar features as ourselves. Just because the world has changed doesn't mean that our natural biases have gone; and only the outlier’s view, cognitive awareness, and external feedback can mitigate this, to mind the gaps and harmonize the world.

The depth of perspective and strength of character is what we need today to deepen the mind, not more of the same old paradigm. We can do better. To overcome the common challenges and advance human race, we have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, see around the corner and transcend the interdisciplinary knowledge, to get to the heart of the matter; not just watch, but perceive; not just listen to what’s been said, but pay more attention to not being said; be critical and creative at the same time, with good intention for problem solving and collective humankind progress.

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