Conversely, have you been pigeon-holing those around you?
We often relate to and relegate others to stereotypes. Why? Because stereotypes help us bring simple understanding and create mental reference points to an otherwise highly complex world.
Surprisingly, the same process that appears to bring simplicity to our life can also limit us in other ways. By categorizing people into specifically ordered profiles, we super-impose preconceived ideas about them into our minds. Doing so means we limit our ability to know others in a fuller or more authentic sense.
Stereotypes can work against our personal growth, too. If we see ourselves only as carbon copies of the group to which we relate, we may stifle our more creative expression or reflect a narrower spectrum of who we truly are to the world.
A Quote on Stereotyping from Harry Connick, Jr.
Singer Harry Connick, Jr. captured how restrictions arise through stereotyping when he made the following remark.
“I’ve learned that people latch onto labels and stereotypes. There was a period when I was asked in every single interview how I liked being the new Frank Sinatra… I think people will soon realize that I do a lot more than interpret old songs.”
It’s certainly true. Harry Connick, Jr. may have originally reminded many of the iconic Frank Sinatra. Perhaps his similarity to Sinatra helped audiences initially identify with his talent and his genre. However, Connick eventually revealed himself as a full-bodied entertainer, one highly distinguishable in his own right.
Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg Talks Stereotypes
Another thoughtful quote comes from Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and the founder of Leanin.org.
“We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.”
Have you ever felt pigeon-holed or limited by others’ ideas about who you are? If not, you might be wondering if you’ve engaged in stereotyping others around you.
Either way, today’s podcast may enlighten your thought life and broaden your perceptions. It will also introduce you to Bryan Rivera of Queens, NY and how he defines living happy from the inside out.