Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How do you Break down Stereotypical Mindset

If you sow negativity, you will reap it.

The stereotypical mind is an anti-digital mindset. On this global platform and within one’s own heart, you have the power and responsibility to break down stereotypes. Think about the stereotypes you hold about who leaders are and what they look like?  This is a highly relevant topic in this day and age with the whole spectrum of digitalization.

Stereotyping one another is a human issue-one that you need to keep weeding out of the culture. Stereotyping isn't just a social issue that is best left for "the experts" to inform people what to do. Look at all the labels/classifications you affix to one another then treat each other based upon those labels/classifications. People all have their stereotypes; the mind can and will play tricks on you based on past experiences. Even you are sometimes not aware of the stereotypes/prejudices/false assumptions you maintain.  A good question would be you delineate truth from fiction about others, you must become a true culture of inclusion which will only happen through education both formal and informal.

Perceive each other with insight, not just the outlook. To truly break down stereotypes, you have to make a concerted effort to know and understand each other and to give each other the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. Knowing that you are conditioned to stereotype others is a good start. Consciously avoiding passing judgment based on a person's heritage, background, religion, the level of education or exterior looks is another good start. It is our responsibility to practice this daily and to take a personal inventory of how we pass judgment upon one another, then we hold to our stereotypes which are false assumptions, it is like holding on to a negative habit that is detrimental to one’s health, both physically and spiritually.

Sow negativity, you will reap it. Stereotype as a word has a negative connotation. People are hired, fired, given pay raises, promotions, privileges, positive performance reviews, preferential treatment, educated or denied, feared, hated, discriminated, treated with disrespect, bullied and beaten based on one’s held beliefs/stereotypes. One’s mind is not a blank sheet of paper but filled with all kinds of information as part of the socialization process. Those values beliefs etc, help orient one and to a large extent helps you to stay alive. The issue is not to have them but to ignore or refuse to accept the fact that other people have other values, beliefs, etc. and that for a lot of them, it is not a question of good or bad. The key is elevating diversity to inclusiveness beyond what is commonly understood by it.

 It always starts with held-beliefs. You keep on seeing it all around people all the time. When it comes down to labeling, the mind does not care if it is good or bad. If you sow negativity, you will reap it. You become what you think. Knowledge is power. It is crucial that you value education/continuous learning, both in the informal and formal way. Gaining knowledge is not limited to the four walls of a classroom. Think about the stereotypes you believe about your friends, co-workers, members of the group, and people you don't even know. Challenge your beliefs/stereotypes by continuously asking different people: Is it true? When you are fearful and you don't understand someone other than yourselves, you come up with all kinds of false beliefs. Questioning/challenging long-held beliefs is hard work and is often met with resistance, but, isn't that how CHANGE comes about. 

Start with respect, understand, then be understood with empathy, apply wisdom to break down such silo and negative mindset, and equip yourself with an open, adaptive and mature mind.


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