Author: Jopie de Beer, CEO of JvR Africa Group
The world, as global village, is becoming progressively more diverse. Whether the movement of people has to do with emigrants fleeing their country of origin, or people who prefer to stay in a new environment - there is no doubt that societies and cultures are becoming more interwoven.
Within a multicultural context, even outside their country of origin, people seem to find it comfortable and easier to socialise with those with whom they share values, history, language, habits, beliefs, and possibly even appearance.
In exceedingly diverse societies, like South Africa, deep divisions between groups may allow for a variety of thinking habits to develop about each other. To achieve the united country, we have been striving for, we must be conscious of these thinking habits and actively work to avoid them.
We all use thinking habits and biases to make decision-making easier. People very seldom have all the facts, nor can they comprehend all the facts, even if they wanted to. Herbert Simon called this our 'bounded rationality'. We like to think of ourselves as rational, but, everyone one of us must rely on a wide range of assumptions to cope with the overwhelming complexity of day to day decision-making.
The problem comes in when our assumptions are wrong. We often feel so convinced of the truth as we see it, that we literally become blind to evidence that may prove us wrong.
Regardless of our background, gender, race, or beliefs, as human beings our minds tend to work in similar ways. We tend to make similar kinds of systematic decision-making errors, and it is only through education and mindfulness that we can become aware of their effect on our thinking.
Here are some common biases that impact the way we see the world:
If any of the above statements seemed familiar to you, you are a human being like the rest of us. We all find relationship building difficult, even in the best of times, and downright painful in the worst of times. Add in some diversity to the mix, and things get even harder.
However, no matter the difficulties, human beings are natural relationship builders. With some basic knowledge of biases, we can overcome many of the obstacles to building strong, diverse relationships - a basic requirement of building our rainbow nation.
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ABOUT JvR Africa Group:
JvR Africa Group of companies consists of JvR Psychometrics, JvR Consulting Psychologists, JvR Academy, and JvR Safety. With its head office situated in Johannesburg, the group conducts business nationally and across Sub-Saharan Africa. They work with test developers, consultants and academic institutions all over the world, and support a range of development opportunities and host events around People Development in Africa, a cause they feel is extremely important to the future of our continent.
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