Around some things we say way too much, and around others not enough. Sometimes we research and gather data like crazy, sometimes we just wing it. How we gather and process information is yet another place where we do that black/white, on/off, base 2 extreme thinking. To paraphrase Dr. Phil, let’s take a look at how that’s actually working for us…
What’s really under this thing I’m calling Information Extremes seems to be something about assumptions. We assume we already know everything we need to know. We assume we can’t learn more. We assume others already understand.
I really ran into this when I lived for two very long years in South Carolina. Now in many ways, this was not the best place on earth for me. It felt odd. I didn’t understand the culture or how to maneuver through it. One of the things that really made it hard was a perspective I named ‘Everybody Knows’. It worked liked this. No one felt the need to supply details about places, events or many other things because ‘Everybody knows’. When the newspaper has a head line that says ‘Fourth of July Fireworks at the Fort’ I actually have some questions. Questions like which gate do you use, is there a fee, what time does it start, can you bring food, what are the rules of the event. None of that information was available because ‘Everybody Knows’. Except of course those of us that don’t. This phenomena extended to all sorts of things including directions to turn at the corner where the filling station was, the one that was torn down 30 years ago was. It came from this community having done things the same way for many, many years. Somehow, anyone naïve enough to move there was just supposed to tap into some strange collective unconscious to figure things out. I know this happens in small towns all over the place, yet the city I was in was the state capital with a university and a large military presence, so I wasn’t by any means the only person who couldn’t qualify for the ‘Everybody Knows’ club. As you can no doubt tell, I felt less than welcome.
This is a prime example of how we assume the yes/no logic will work. Long ago in my initial coach training they talked about yes/no not really being a choice. That really struck me. Think about politics: are two options really enough? Aren’t we settling there? I find I frequently don’t actually get to vote for what I really want, but more for the option that I dislike the least.
It’s like when you are watching the courtroom scene on the telly. How irritating is it that the person on the stand has to answer yes or no, with no explanation or elaboration allowed. Creates a pretty narrow view doesn’t it?
Here’s the money piece to this. We assume we don’t know, and never will. We assume it’s too hard, too confusing, too scary…too extreme. We pick feast or famine as a model. If I’m scared of money and have avoided looking at it, I assume the only way out is to get a green eyeshade and analyzes every money transaction in great detail.
What about the middle? What about choosing that? What about taking steps to something new, learning and applying one new skill or tool at a time? What about just looking? How about a dimmer switch. I love those things. I have options between all the light or no light. I can have some, a little light, more light. Every little piece of money information you choose to gather or learn about brings more light to the topic.
So when it comes to money, and choices about all sorts of things, forget the Information Extremes, say boo to Everybody Knows, and exchange the switch on the wall, and the one in your head, for a dial!