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Over-reaction to difference is a 'fear' response

"What planet are they from?!" It's a question we often use dismissively. ​It's actually a really good question to ask ourselves more seriously, with more curiosity than judgement.


Our 'inner chimp' (limbic / personality / 'ego') finds difference threatening, and may react with defensive aggression or avoidance. This is at the core of 'unconscious bias'. It makes assumptions or pre-judgements which can turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecies.

That's because defensiveness triggers a matching threat response in the other person's 'inner chimp (limbic). So now neither of you is thinking 'smartly' or acting 'intentionally'. 

The goal is to manage our inner chimp so we can respond (PFC) rather than react (limbic). Success comes from taking more time (maybe literally just a breath) to: 

  • use EQ to deal 'smartly' with individuality (recognise their personality / ego); AND 

  • connect with common humanity (let your SELF see their SELF)

​To collaborate well you need to let go our natural preference for liking or being alike, accept the reality that people in our world really do live on a different planet, and work with patience and pragmatism. This principle is beautifully described in 'Moral Tribes' by Joshua Greene. 

"Ogres have layers" Shrek
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