What the heck is pigeonholing?
While the word is likely from the pigeon bird’s ability to nest in small holes and other tight spaces, another definition offers the meaning of a “specific, often oversimplified category”. This is related to dichotomous thinking, which is also known as black-and-white thinking. Often times, treating things as if they are mutually exclusive can lead to trouble and oversimplification.
For example, describing people as either good or bad is likely an unrealistic categorization. Likewise, classifying rhubarb as either poisonous or edible would be untrue because the plant is indeed both edible and poisonous. There are drawbacks to pigeonhole style thinking.
So, this is your permission slip to pigeonhole no more. Try reconsidering a topic you have an either/or position, and consider it in another way. Maybe it is both of the dichotomies instead of one or the other, or it lies on a continuum between the two sides. If you try it, you might like it.
I will post along a similar theme regarding pigeonholing again next week with another perspective and some more research on this topic.
Also, the inspiration for this post comes from a book I recently read. A branding and business strategy book, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman. The author interviews current A-listers of the marketing world and one interview with Malcom Gladwelll, the author, cultural critic and new yorker columnist stood out to me. On the popularity of personality tests and the concept of the individual brand he said “It gives people a superficially appealing ‘understanding’ of each other. I think that we should be fighting pigeonholing, not enabling”. These wise words by Mr. Gladwell point to the fact that humans are not easily defined people. We are all unique.
(This wellness tip from a business strategy book is a reminder that wellness crosses over many subjects and that many subjects are relatable to wellness too.)