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  • Marquez Woods

Transcending the Spectrum Mentality

Marquez T Woods March 23rd, 2021

The way we view life has always been a series of binary models. At either end, we find opposing forces. Fire and water. Air and Earth. We think of these things as opposites because, in nature, they cancel out.

We've been obsessed with dichotomous relationships, topics and, schools of thought. We're constantly flipping back and forth between idolization and demonization of... well... anything really.

We only recently began to understand that there are infinite shades of grey between the polarity of black and white. We've been evolving from a binary model to a spectrum model of thinking.

This understanding shows itself in the acceptance of Gender Fluidity. Today, people generally understand that humans have varying sexualities, preferences and, identities. Some may do their best not to acknowledge it, but those people are in the dwindling minority.

The rise of political moderates is another iteration of this understanding. These people do not identify with democratic or republican ideals in totality. They live in the grey area of the political spectrum.

While the spectrum mentality encompasses infinite points between two ends, it remains underperforming.

To illustrate how flawed the sliding-scale view of the world is, we can look at the subject of self-actualization. I'll take a look at my growth journey between who I am now and the realization of my own potential.

When I contemplate who I am now, I tend comparatively think of where I fit in the world. This mind-frame leads me to adopt one of two mentalities—Narcissism or Echoism, two demeanors on opposite ends of the spectrum of self.

Narcissism often shows itself as an overinflated sense of self-importance or an excessive need for admiration. My narcissistic tendency shows itself as arrogance—a stagnating demeanor that often stunts my growth.

Why would I ask a question if I already assume to know the answer? Why would I work hard if I feel I'm immediately entitled to the luxuries of success? How could I drive a successful team without considering and treating my constituents as equals? I've been lucky enough to notice this off-balance mentality as an undeniable deterrent for self-actualization.

Echoism is equally damaging to my process of self-actualization. It's rooted in fear. Fear of taking up too much space or spotlight. Fear that I'm undeserving of my talents, or worse, that I don’t have any. Without belief in myself, I settle into cowardice. Fear becomes a driving force in my pursuit, or lack thereof, of self-actualization. Fear neutralizes all opportunities and ceases growth through paralysis.

Arriving at either mentality, on either end of the spectrum, pushes self-actualization further away, and so, my logical instinct is to reconcile the two; To find the sweet spot of confidence and humility.

To find the grey area on this spectrum, however, never deals with the real issue. To truly achieve the greatest version of myself, I had to look beyond this two-dimensional mentality.

This spectrum is married to an egocentric view of the world. Every point on this flawed spectrum fails to acknowledge that I must pull from a source greater than myself to self-actualize. To remain burdened in this perspective is to deny that, perhaps, I am not the center of the universe.

So, I asked myself,

What does it look like to transcend the perception that I am the center of the universe—To break the two-dimensional plane of self-importance or unimportance?

For me, it means submission to my greatest gifts. It means a responsibility to allow others space to be themselves. It means prioritizing the wholehearted goal of my actions rather than how it influences my self-worth. Today, I feel clarity and strength from the authentic intention of looking beyond the spectrum of self.

Today, I grow closer to self-actualization through selflessness.

Gender Fluidity has less of an implication when you zoom out and see love as love regardless of how the participants identify. Perhaps there is a larger picture than our two-party system’s constrictive ideology - one that overarches both ends of the political spectrum.

Carrying the mentality to transcend flawed spectrums has countless positive effects. We must continue to evolve our view of the world. Sometimes, that means leaving black, white, and even grey behind.


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