Appreciating The Grey

What do you do when the black and white model of the world fails you?

Stargazers Familiar Footsteps and Such

Most of us live our life with a well-defined concept of good and bad. It’s a concept that’s been defined for us since childhood, something that had been inculcated in the very roots of our subconscious minds, primarily through the conventional classification of habits and sometimes, even people. This classification is sometimes explicit and sometimes implied, through books, movies and other media. For example, Being kind to others is good. Behaving violently is bad. Working hard is good. Being lazy is bad. Honesty is good. Cheating is bad. These are a few things every child is told. As we grow up, we start hearing other things. Drinking and smoking is bad. Exercising is good. Being ambitious is good. Being overconfident or over-competitive is bad. We have a choice of believing in a variety of concepts that revolve around a balance in the universe – God, The Devil, Karma, etc. Yes, all of this is good. It is essential to know the difference between right and wrong, the difference between good and bad. Because life is not black and white and as we grow up, the areas in grey get larger. So knowing where that line exists becomes of utmost importance.

But you know what’s wrong? Using that line to define people. We cannot categorize people like habits. It might seem like an obvious thing at first, but try to think about this – Do you judge people on their habits, or by their behaviour? Or do you judge them based on their characteristics? To be completely honest, it’d be best if we didn’t judge people at all. But that’s a bit idealistic, because everyone has an idea of good people and bad people. At a small level, this is harmless – maybe even helpful. But here’s where it starts becoming a problem. Nerds don’t know how to party. People who party are dumb. People who drink are dangerous. Rebels are cool. People who study well are smart. People who don’t get grades are stupid. This is where this black and white perspective of the world fails us. I feel like this is a lesson we all learn at some point in our lives, but it becomes clear that this model fails once you step out into the real world. Because it is simply incorrect to judge a person based on one of their habits, on one of their characteristics and all you’re doing, if you keep following this black and white model, is missing out on a whole bunch of goodness hidden in people you’d never expect. Guess what? Some nerds want to party. Some people who drink are smart. Some smokers might be the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Not everyone who gets good grades is a good person. And most people who fail a particular education system are not stupid.

So try and stop classifying people like habits. Try and understand people for who they are, through each thing that makes them unique. Try and find the goodness in everyone. Stop believing in the black and white model of the world. Start appreciating the grey too.