Say No to Black-and-White Thinking

Say yes to a full range of options and possibilities.

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Curt Rosengren
Want a surefire way to limit your ability to create a future that energizes and inspires you? Think in black and white.

So often I see people looking at life's options and obstacles as though there were only two possibilities for any given scenario. "Either I do it this way or I can't do it at all. Either I do it perfectly or my efforts are completely flawed. Either I take this path to my goal or there's no way to get there."

In reality, there is precious little in this world that is truly black and white. In between the two, you'll usually find a whole rainbow of possibilities.

For example, let's say you want to change careers, but you can't afford to right now. Black-and-white thinking would tell you that your only other option is to suck it up, grit your teeth, and stick it out. But you might discover multiple other options—from finding ways to improve your current situation (so the change becomes unnecessary) to finding another way to make the move.

As you explore the possibilities, you might ask: "Well, what would it take to enable me to make that change? How could I do that? What are my options?" You might discover that you can't make the change right now but that if you aimed to make it a three-year transition process and gave yourself a goal to save money for a transition fund, the possibilities might start to open up.

Try this: Next time you find yourself thinking in black and white, ask yourself, "If I had to think of other possible scenarios, what would they be?"

Make yours a multichromatic world.

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.