The Blue-Black / White-Gold Debate

black-and-blue-dress-198x300There is a debate raging across the internet about the color of the dress in the photo to the right.

Is it blue and black? Or white and gold?

I read about this debate and was skeptical. Was this some big scam? When I look at the picture I see blue and black and can’t imagine it would be anything else.

I decided to test this proposition my self. I was surrounded by people this past weekend at a family event, so carried around my laptop asking my relatives what color they thought the dress was.

Reality Check?

Of my first three subjects, my mom saw blue and black. So did my cousin Michael. But my cousin Carol saw white and gold. The more people I asked, the more I realized that this is for real. People see the colors in this dress differently — and each person is completely convinced about the “rightness” of his or her view.

My cousin Michael was an interesting case. I showed him the picture a second time in different lighting, and he saw it as white and gold. But a minute later, he was saying it was back to black and blue.

He still insisted he was right and I was playing tricks on him with the lighting on my computer.


Being Right

Do you think you “know” things like what color that dress is? I know I do. My brain does not even want to consider that someone else really and truly sees it as a different color. That dress is black and blue! But many people I know and trust were right there saying with complete conviction, “White and gold.”

This reminds me of another exercise where one person is looking at a mug from the handle side, and another is looking from the non-handle side. To one person, there is no handle. To the other, it’s clearly a handled mug.

Here’s the rub: Both people are right!! And they are both stuck in a perspective.

The Gift of Perspective

If we could get this about other issues – religion, the cleanliness of our kitchens, what it means to leave on time, [insert your issue here], imagine how much better our relationships could be. Imagine how much less we would fight over the not-important things. We could be curious instead of “right.” We could truly be “over there” with the people in our lives, listening to them accurately.

How does this principle apply to writing? Whatever we write, whether it’s a blog article, an e-mail message, a book, or a resume, one person might read it one way and another person might read it completely differently. The same resume can be loved by one hiring manager and hated by another. I notice it with my e-book too: People rate How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile everywhere from 5 stars to 1.

It’s rare to find any topic on which people agree 100%. If we can take that as a gift instead of as a point of contention, we can all grow and expand as we explore each other’s perspectives.

I challenge you to try this at home. Make someone right today who you are totally convinced is wrong. Who knows what might emerge from there?

1 Comment

  1. Brenda I see gold in that nice dress! I understand that it could be a different color though.

    Also I am convinced that all those 1 star reviews of your book are fake reviews.

    These are like shill reviews and are deliberately planted to help others profit from these 1 star reviews.

    Thanks for sharing your message.

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