I'm at the grocery store and I'm standing in line. It's one of those just kind of typical days at the grocery store, and just running in to grab something at the deli. So I'm standing in line and there's a woman in front of me. Who is, what my grandmother would call, acting ugly. Right? So this woman is huffing and puffing, she's folding her arms [makes huffing sound] and kind of mumbling under her breath a little bit. Because in front of her there was a woman who had a basket full of groceries. A cart full of groceries she had four kids she spoke limited english. And I want to say her predominant language was spanish, right.
So she's trying to negotiate with the cashier and getting her groceries in. And these four kids are just kind of all over the place and they're in the candy aisle. So they're trying to sneak stuff into the cart she's trying to put it back. She's trying to get her stuff taken care of. And the woman behind her, which is the woman in front of me, is just acting ugly. But it's quite embarrassing, right? So I'm standing there, and I'm like ooh, I'm a diversity trainer. I've got my PowerPoint in the car. I can do my presentation because I know what this situation's about. This is a diversity moment!
No. That doesn't make sense. So I scrap that idea. And then something occurs to me. Bing, and I think about when I was a classroom teacher. One of the things that my students taught me, because they taught me way more than I think I ever taught them. The one thing that I learned from my students was this. And so I went and used this tactic. So the woman is huffing and puffing and folding her arms and tapping her feet and mumbling under her breath.
And all of a sudden I do this: [exasperation sound] . Now what happens when I do that? Her behavior stops. Why? Well, it's very clear, as much as people want to be on America's Top Idol, model whatever. Nobody wants to be watched. When she realized that someone was watching her, she became conscious of herself. We call that cognitive dissonance. I offered her a different way to analyze herself. To look at herself, and say is this the kind of behavior that I want to exhibit.
Now, did this woman, will she do this ever again, I don't know. But what I was able to give her was a gift, that all too often we don't give people. Which is cognitive dissonance. I stopped her in her tracks and allowed her space to think about her behavior. Well it's very interesting. We get that same kind of cognitive dissonance when we look in the mirror. Right? We look in the mirror and when things on the outside don't align with things that we think about ourselves. Have you ever looked in the mirror and go, oh my goodness, I've been looking like this all day? Cognitive dissonance. The mirror isn't talking to you, it's showing you who you are and what you are.
All too often we don't create enough cognitive dissonance for ourselves and we certainly don't provide it for other people. Now I'm not talking about telling people about themselves. But I'm offering that we need to show people in an injective way. The kinds of things and ways in which they show themselves and the world.
Did that woman's parents teach her how to act ugly? I would say no. So how did she get that way? She became less aware of herself, of others and hated herself. And so we have to offer cognitive dissonance. Just like the mirror, just like the coughing. So that people can stop and think. We don't think enough, we don't think enough.
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.
We are never far
nurturing the seeds of change
Andre Koen, Facilitator
Conference call 218.852.6114 ext. 823042
Online training www.organizationallift.com
This Drives Our Work:
- Unity of the Individual(s)
- Goal Orientation
- Race as Construct
- Self-Determination and Uniqueness
- Social Context
- The Feeling of Community
- Mental Health/Wealth
- Individual Striving
- Social/Individual Interest