This week I’m re-reading a book by David Cameron Gikandi called A Happy Pocket Full of Money. It’s a great book about the mindset of abundance. I highly recommend it, it’s a fascinating read. It’s my second time through, and of course different things are jumping out at me this time.
Here is one that I thought I would share since it applies to diversity and inclusion.
In Chapter 3 (The Truth About Time: It Does Not Exist), David writes about how we use our memories of something instead of seeing it as it is, in the present moment. Here is a passage from the chapter:
“Most people do and see the things that occur most often in their lives in an unconscious and unaware state. Because they have seen or done them before, they turn to relying on their memories and on labels they built in their minds the first time they had the experience. Learning and discovery drops to zero. Memories of past experiences take over. But what good does it do to live today based on your memory of yesterday? You miss the gift of the present moment totally!! In your business or work, do you take an absolutely fresh look at your work, workmates, and customers each new day? Or do you go by how you “knew” them in their past?
Everything changes, and using memory keeps you from seeing that change, seeing things as they truly are. Try to “forget” everything about what you are looking at, and you will discover a whole new world. You will grow a whole lot faster, and grow your wealth and self a whole lot quicker.”
This reminds me of mental associations and unconscious bias. Dr. Banaji and Dr. Greenwald write about these in their book Blind Spot. Our brain makes shortcuts so it can be more efficient and in order to do that makes mental associations between things. If we apply this to how we see people, it explains how we can be looking at someone and seeing the person we think is there based on memory or what we think we know, rather than seeing them for who they are.
In the work world, this impacts recruitment, hiring, choosing people for projects, teams, and promotions.
In our personal lives this impacts relationships; long-term relationships, particularly those in which we are trying again, or getting over a hurt; new relationships, as in who we choose to date; and of course friendships – especially, I imagine, those we have had for a long time. It’s easy to get stuck in memories with people we have known for a long time and keep a cycle going that may or may not work. But with new people – like when we are hiring – messages that inform our view of someone can perpetuate the same negative cycles when they are based on stereotypes and negative views of a person’s value or abilities.
What if for the rest of the week you tried David Cameron Gikandi’s challenge – to treat each day like it was new and not depend on memory?
I’ll do the same. Let’s see what happens to our relationships at work and at home.