Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Both and, not either or

Unfortunately, there is very strong tendency for many people to think in black and white terms – a sort of ‘all or nothing’ approach. It is as if there is a strong urge to assign things to one category or another. This is what I call either/or thinking. Others have referred to it as ‘binary’ thought.

In reality, life is much more complex than that, and so either/or thinking prevents us from appreciating the subtleties of the situations we find ourselves in. It places a sort of straitjacket on our way of understanding whatever it is we are trying to make sense of.

Of course, an important thing to recognise is that thought is so often the basis of action. If we think in unhelpful, restrictive ways, there is a very real danger we will behave in unhelpful, restrictive ways too…

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