I had a disagreement with my sponsor and she hates me now. I didn’t even get close to my goal this month, maybe I should quit. My leaders are all so good at this, and that means I’m not.
Black and white thinking, also known as dichotomous thinking or simplicity-seeking, can really hurt our mindset as well as our businesses. So what is it exactly?
Black and white thinking is a cognitive distortion that simplifies everything into a dichotomy – or two parts. When you’re thinking black and white, everything is simplified into bad and good, right and wrong, or black and white. You either have friends or enemies, your sales are either good or bad. You’re either doing amazing or doing terribly. We seek simplicity to feel more in control of our circumstances. Black and white thinking can be pathological – existing as a symptom of personality disorders. That’s not what we’re discussing. Today, we’re going to discuss the less severe, everyday version of black and white thinking, or as some may call it, simplicity-seeking.
So how is it hurting your business? Let’s look into it.
1. Black and White Thinking is hurting your mindset.
If your brain is constantly living in a world that has only two parts, the good stuff is really good and the bad stuff is really bad. Being in the field of sales consists of many peaks and valleys – the valleys are hard, even without feeling every time like it is the end of your business or defines you as a business owner. The truth is, you’re not either just good or just bad at your business. You’re doing well in some areas, and need to adjust or improve in other areas. When the lows are extremely low all the time, the highs don’t feel as great either. So how can you solve this thinking? Simply – catch yourself. Then take an inventory (or ask someone close to you in business to help you) of all the things you’re doing really well, all of the things you need to be more consistent in, and all of the things you should be doing that you aren’t considering you. Try to get a new perspective, and then when you feel yourself sinking into black and white land, revisit that list and continue to change and adapt. Living in a space of only “business is good!” or “business is bad!” means you’re not assessing all the angles. Allow things to be gray, allow yourself to be constantly growing and getting better.
2. Black and white thinking is wrecking your business relationships.
When you’re in a place of black and white thinking, then there are only friends or foes. I’ve noticed this tends to happen with sponsors and members of their downline. The sponsor is good friends with their teammate, then sponsor needs to step into the leadership role and approach their direct or sponsee about an issue. The sponsee then begins to categorize their leader or sponsor into the “foe” category and starts feeling resentful toward them. Resentment always builds if you don’t let it go. This happens between leaders too, they disagree on something instead of allowing the other person to have space next to you with a different opinion, you begin to (most of the time subconsciously) categorize them into a “foe” category.
So how do you manage this? The first thing you can do is catch yourself when you start communicating with someone who you’ve put in this “foe” category. Earnestly listen to them, and try to allow yourself to be neutral when you’re interacting with them. You will never be required to be friends with people who aren’t your people, but don’t let simplicity-seeking turn you off from being able to work with people who have different opinions or a different approach than you. They may have all sorts of things to teach you.
3. Black and white thinking creates a scarcity mindset.
Scarcity mindset is when you believe that success is limited. When you’re operating from a scarcity mentality, everyone in your path who is successful is a threat. You feel you need to be secretive about your activities or plans, or you work in constant fear that someone is going to come up with something better than you. Those operating from a scarcity mindset are sorting everyone else into a “threat” category.
So what’s the opposite of black and white thinking & scarcity mindset. Abundance.
When you work your business in a state of abundance, collaboration is at the forefront. You’re not afraid of the success of others, and you’re not afraid to extend help to someone (with boundaries of course, I’m not insinuating you undervalue yourself and your services!) who isn’t directly beneficial to your business or your downline. Competitors can be collaborators, and there’s nothing wrong with cheering them on. This state of mindset means that there is enough success for everyone. Competitors don’t have to be a threat.
4. Black and white thinking makes you feel like there is only 1 right path.
When people are struggling with their business or have lost trust in the company they’re working with, black and white thinking tells them there is no way out and they’re either going to succeed in this one place or they’ve failed completely. The truth is, your success relies on a ton of factors – the biggest one being you. But, if you’re not passionate about what you’re selling or you’re not receiving the quality of products you once used to, there are always other options and paths. Black and white thinking also creates a mindset in us that our company is the only right and successful one and choosing to move or discontinue your business means you failed. There are many paths to get to where we want to be! You shouldn’t feel threatened by all the other paths that exist, but rather, let it invigorate you! There are possibilities everywhere and you have the privilege to choose which route you’re going to walk toward your goals.
Have you ever struggled with black and white thinking? Tell us in the comments how you resolved your mindset and what you’re actively doing now to work on it!
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