As a Newcastle fan, admitting the world isn’t black and white is quite a difficult thing to say. Black and white makes things simple; makes them understandable. Black and white makes us feel like we know which side of the line we stand on. It’s easy to see why we would want things to be as straightforward as that… it lessens our doubt and strengthens our convictions.
Black and white also reduces our understanding, our balance, our empathy, our compassion and our reasoning. Our ability to see more than two (or one) sides of the story. To see things as more than our own self-interest. To comprehend that decisions made to affect long term change won’t necessarily have short term benefits. To realise it isn’t us versus them, or right versus wrong, or win versus loss. That every decision doesn’t come down to a yes or no check box.
Standing up for what you believe in is a very good quality to have. But having the maturity to see the picture beyond those beliefs is a better quality to have. Living in a comfort zone, and blaming everything outside that comfort zone for why you’re still there… the world doesn’t owe you anything and if you think it does, you’ll stop seeing the opportunities you’re being given every single day. It can also be difficult when you’re trying to achieve something to take time out from that. But committing to the bigger picture will improve your own position in it, if you have the patience to see how it all fits together. Zooming out to zoom back in.
Black and white and everything in between is relevant no matter where you look. Results and numbers on a screen are undoubtedly what matters when you’re in a results-driven profession, but that doesn’t mean they are the only thing. Being able to take a step back to understand what goes into that result, what influences it and creates it and what it means. It’s like a million brush strokes to create a single line. There’s a million chances there to make that line look different; a million ways to create a different result. But without taking the time, or the patience, or the understanding to view those individual brush strokes, you might never know they were there. Or how to make them better next time.