In the first part of this piece, I described how thinking in polarities can limit your thinking. It’s actually a hypnotic structure in language based on the word or. Choices are artificially limited: “should we do X or Y?” limits you to just two choices instead of the entire field of possibility.
Polarity combines with this structure to force a choice between absolutes: “should we do it: yes or no?” There are many more of these binary choices presented to us every day, forcing black and white decisions in a world with many more colourful choices.
For us/Against us
and on it goes.
To de-hypnotise yourself from these polarities, you first need to be aware of them as they occur. Then move beyond those limited choices. After all, if it’s not right and it’s not wrong – then what is it?
If you don’t see any other choices, then that’s a good indicator you have a mental ‘blind spot’ or a gap in information on your mental map.
A good way to fill in such gaps and remove blind spots of this sort is to collide the polarities using an NLP technique called the visual squash. Here’s how it works:
Exercise: Closing gaps with the visual squash.
- Identify the two ideas or polarities you want to integrate.
- Hold your arms out in front of you, hands apart, palms facing up.
- Imagine one of the ideas in your left hand. Does it have a colour, shape, sound, texture, temperature or weight? Make it as real as possible.
- Imagine the other idea in your right hand. Does it have a colour, shape, sound, texture, temperature or weight?
- Understanding that at a higher level everything is one, allow your hands to move closer to each other only as quickly as your unconscious can bring those concepts together.
- Imagine a line of communication between the two, connecting them as they continue to move closer.
- When the two concepts meet/combine, you might have a flash of inspiration, opening up new possibilities, or the two ideas might just seem to work better together. Or you may not be conscious of the specifics of the change and the connection will become apparent later.
After doing this exercise, often you will find a spectrum of options instead of just two poles, opening up a world of greater choice.
Sometimes the process will ‘collapse’ the duality – especially if the two elements are true opposites. This is also a beneficial result because it allows you to see choices elsewhere, rather than just between the two extremes you started with. The only way to know what this can add to your choices is to do the process and find out for yourself.
Is polarity thinking good or bad? Now you know a better question to ask yourself.