There are very few things of which I am sure. I would have thought that recognizing colors is one of them. But, like many of you, I enjoyed the recent worldwide fascination with the blue and black dress–or is it white and gold? My daughter and I had some fun debating the now infamous picture. She sees a white and gold dress and I see it as blue and black. She found the picture ‘scary’.
She wasn’t alone. The comments shared online revealed confusion and strong divisions. For example, “Anyone who disagrees, I’m at 37th and Madison, come fight me.” Even Taylor Swift chimed in, “I don’t understand this odd dress debate and I feel like it’s a trick somehow. I’m confused and scared.”
That’s what happens when something rocks what we believe to be real. Mind you, we laughed at the difference and had fun with it because, whether the dress is one color or another has nothing to do with anything essential in our lives.
It did however present an incredibly important learning opportunity. People are physically wired to see things differently. We might see the same thing differently under changing circumstances and surroundings. If we can be wired to see even elemental things such as colors differently, then how dangerous is it to attach ourselves to any belief we find to be ‘real’ or ‘true’?
At Pharos, our commitment is to bring a mindset of discovery to everything that we do. This open mindset demands that we suspend our belief that our view of the world is somehow more real than anyone else’s view.
The viral dress debate helps to remind me of two important lessons. First, that any observation I make should be assumed to be a hypothesis at best, not reality. And second, to bring the same caring and lightness of spirit to all differences that I encounter with others each day. The most important facet of the dress debate is not the color, but what we can all learn from one another and about ourselves if we only have the courage to listen, learn, and pay attention.