Spatial v Linear Thinking

When striving for something, we tend to assume it’s a linear, one-dimensional journey – but that is rarely the case.

Sometimes it is. The Olympic 100m Final is linear. It’s judged simply on who crosses the line first. You don’t get a head start because of your skin colour. No bonus points for style. A degree is irrelevant. You can’t bribe the judge. All you can do to win that gold medal is run faster than everyone else.

But most of the time, life isn’t linear. If we’re pitching for a new client, for example, we’re being judged on many different criteria – attitude, experience, qualifications, whether they liked you [and your shoes]. It’s also affected by external factors. Perhaps one of the other people pitching was at school with the CEO. Or they happen to be a huge ABBA fan, and so is the project lead. Chances are you’ll never know.

Most of the time, we’re being assessed on multiple criteria – it’s a four, five, six [or more] dimensional space.

It helps to remember these ‘spatial’ relationships. Assessments are almost always a combination of multiple factors, some we can influence, some we can’t. Rarely can life be reduced to ‘better or worse.’

Spatial, not linear.

Shades of grey, not black or white.

[And it sometimes helps to wear platform boots].