Grey Is The Color You Are Looking For

We try a lot to judge things from the prism of black and white but does anything under the green planet qualify for such prism?

Human misjudgment is a concept that grabbed my attention since I learnt about it from Charlie Munger.

The idea of misjudgment is simple, because of our psychological and cognitive conditioning as human, we tend to falter at the point of decision making (usually requires judgement).

One mental model to arm yourself with to deal with such conditioning is what I want to share with you today.

The default state of our mind when confronted with situations is usually to categorize them under the two prisms: Good or bad, righteous or evil, white or black and so on. It’s easier for the brain to understand things like that than for your to tell it Grey. Did you notice there’s a part of your brain that still tend to see grey as black?

The reason for this is not far fetched, thousands of years ago while we were still in our primitive state as hunter-gatherer and our brain was developing, the prevailing conditions of that time requires such judgement.

The lion will kill you or you run away (no room for grey – maybe the lion’s teeth has been removed that’s why it can walk around in the neighborhood).

You either eat now or you go hungry (no room for grey – there was no way to preserve the foods)

The oncoming man is either from my tribe or against my tribe (no room for grey – maybe he missed his roads. Times when such grey was entertained, it didn’t end well.)

Those were the kind of conditions under which the brain was developed. So it has become accustomed to such prism of judgment for decision making. And it took a lot for the brain to develop to it’s current state so it won’t just adjust to a new reality overnight.

But you need to conciously move away from such a worldview. Many things in life will qualify for a grey definition than black and white could ever have.

So the next time you are confronted with the need to pass a judgement, take a pause from concluding black or white. Let your first assumption be grey. Seeing grey gives you room to be able to consider things from an unbiased mind.

If you’ve judge white, it becomes difficult to change it to black. If you’ve judged black, even more difficult to change it to white. But if your initial condition is grey, you give yourself room to consider all available data objectively and to make an informed conclusion later on.