Labels. We use them to identify everything. We use them to quickly categorize people, places and things.
It is how we form opinions on things that we know nothing about. Instead of researching something or learning more about it, we look at what label it fits into. We all do it, I do it, but why do we do it?
Labels let’s us find like minded people who will support our point of view, our agenda or our desires. Labels also help to protect us from things we don’t want to deal with in our lives. It has been called “The first impression.” As soon as you see someone, subconsciously, you are assigning a label to that person. In your mind you have already decided how you feel about the person or how you plan to interact with that person.
I was at the mall doing some Christmas shopping and a guy around the same age as me was standing in front of me in line at the checkout.
He had shaved his head and had put tribal tattoos all over his head. I automatically labeled him and wasn’t going to talk to him at all. But then he turn to me and said something funny and I realized that he was just like me except he likes tattoos. My labels limit me from engaging with people that look extremely different from me.
Labels are designed to do just that. We label each other by color, religion, race, background, living conditions, status of success, heritage, beliefs, music preference, what school you graduated from, political affiliations, social groups, ect. Everything is designed to help us find reasons to either come together or stay as far away from each other as possible. Labels leave no middle ground.
The reason we love them is because they make us feel comfortable. We don’t have to be or act differently. We can act how we are comfortable because those around us fit into the same label. But where it fails is in a work environment. At work you are expected to do what you don’t have to do anywhere else in the world. At school you can choose your group, at church you can choose your group, in your social life you can choose your group, but at work you have to interact with whoever they hire.
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At work we are forced to shed our labels and unite to accomplish a goal. We have to leave as many labels as possible at home so we can function as a productive unit.
It is not always an easy task but we can learn a lot about the usefulness of labels from how we have to quickly abandon most of them at work. Unfortunately, once those 8 hours are over we put the labels back on and go back into our comfort zones.
It is something I am working on in my life. I am trying to look past the labels and search for things that I have in common with those that are different from me. Whenever I do this I always find that there are a lot of things that are similar. But even if I shed the labels, the other person is still living in a world where labels matter. They have labeled me before we even started to interact. So labels are a factor in how we live even if some of us stop using them.
So the goal becomes, understanding what labels people will automatically put on you, and showing them that there is more to you than the labels suggests.
Author Bio: W.T. Hamilton is the co-author of Your Invincible Power series of books and the President of the Your Invincible Power Company. We have created a series of books to assist in the understanding and use the Law of Attraction in everyday situation.
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