(Estimated reading time: 4 minutes)
We all have that friend who is always sitting on the fence, trying to please both sides or rather, everyone. He or she tries to be diplomatic all the time, like as if every single situation calls for it. It is as if he likes or dislikes everything thrown at him. How can anyone live like that?
It is quite irritating at times actually, dealing with this kind of people. Especially when you need a definite answer or decision from that person. He or she just can’t seem to decide because of fear. Fear of offending someone. And I happen to be like that at times too. In fact, many of us do that. Sometimes, our survival actually depends on our ability to be “neutral” or “diplomatic” instead of just voicing out our opinions.
But what many of us don’t understand is that voicing out our thoughts can actually help us get what we really or actually want. Or at the very least, know why we can’t have what we want. Sure, you can keep it in and conform to the situation or person. But how long can you keep that up? If anything, voicing it out now rather than later might actually be the best solution.
Biases keep us focused
When you are clear of what you like and dislike, it becomes a no-brainer about what you should prioritise. And if anything, achieving a specific goal or purpose requires a lot of prioritising and direction. If you are constantly on the fence, being diplomatic all the time, how can you ever make progress?
Speaking of diplomacy, diplomats’ main function is to maintain relationships, not so much of the building aspect. Also, in times of crises, diplomats are there to mitigate any conflicts and hopefully solve problems. It’s always about survival. When it comes to the matters of negotiation in new initiatives or proposals, someone else has to step forward. Someone who can make the decision. Someone like the Prime Minister or President.
As the leader of a country, you have to be incredibly focused – the well-being of your homeland. If a leader is constantly on the fence, always trying to survive and not thrive, how is the team going to make any progress? Biases keep us focused on our goal and purpose, keeps our preferences (likes and dislikes) in check so that we know what we can ignore and what we need to prioritise instead.
Biases helps us find our tribe
Religion is probably one of the oldest kind of bias that is still so prevalent in our daily lives. I’m not a religious person myself but you know very well when you meet one. And what do all religious people have in common despite the difference in beliefs? They are so biased towards their own religion that sometimes it almost sounds ridiculous to others outside of that religion – religious and non-religious.
But it is clear as day as to who they are – members of a religious belief. There is no argument about what they believe in. Now, apply their piety and dedication towards their religion to how we look at our own lives. It’s going to be hard because no matter what belief(s) we have, there are bound to be someone who disapproves. But we can’t please everyone, can we? Ideally, we want to surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe.
Humans achieve unimaginable things with the help of… other humans. There’s no other way around it. And we’ve been doing that for ages. Biases help us find our tribe so that we can achieve things together. Tribe members help one another without a question because shared beliefs tie us together. Staying focused on our goal and purpose alone is not enough. We need help from others and tribe members are that key to achieving what we believe in.
Biases influence behaviour and drive action
If you don’t like what you’re doing, if you’re not willing to do what you’re doing, not wanting to act is the first thing that pops to mind. If you like what you’re doing if you’re willing to do what you’re doing, wanting to act becomes a no-brainer. No persuasion is needed, just inspiration. So if you’re sitting on the fence for many things in your life, heck – even if it’s just one thing, make a stand. Identify your biases and beliefs. Stay focused, find your tribe and act. Inspire and help others in the process. I challenge you.
It’s never too late to start. But now is the time.