Giving something attention can often give an issue power, and exacerbate a problem. When to give something attention, and when to ignore?
Confusing Movement with Progress
Many people confuse movement with making progress. There are two main concerns with this. Firstly, what if that movement is moving in the wrong direction? Secondly, sometimes giving something attention gives it more power. Both of these considerations can potentially make things worse.
Sometimes action or movement is needed, and sometimes it’s not. It’s often not clear which of these approaches is the correct one. When to act, and when to not act?
Most people seem to naturally assume that action should be taken to solve a particular issue. This is easy to understand. If there is a problem, movement and action is needed to fix it. However, what if we are dealing with a complicated problem? If the person that’s taking action doesn’t fully understand the problem, they could end up making the problem worse.
Another consideration is with the problem itself. Is it a real or perceived problem, or has the problem been exaggerated? Now we come to the issue of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If an issue is perceived or exaggerated, will giving it attention make the issue worse or perhaps create a whole new problem? So, you could be looking to fix an issue that you created yourself.
Metal Health & Social Anxiety Example
One of the symptoms of social anxiety is a fear or perception of being judged negatively. They wish to disappear into the background, to not gain attention. This is one example of when doing nothing is better than doing something. The wrong thing would be to feed their fear of being judged. So, approaching them and asking if they are “okay” gives them unwanted attention. This may heighten the symptoms and feeds their self-consciousness.
This is a good example of people making a situation worse because they don’t understand the issue. The more attention you give it, the worse it could potentially get. On the surface, it may seem like a good thing to do. However, like many solutions people come up with, it’s overly simple. I think it in part stems from the belief that compassion solves most issues, which it doesn’t. This is related to the psychological concept (if the only tool you possess is a hammer, every problem resembles a nail). The solution is to get more tools by education.
Prejudice & Discrimination Example
A problem with the issue of prejudice and discrimination is that it’s highly subjective and often very dependent on interpretation. Plus, things can be intentionally misinterpreted for political or malicious reasons.
Misinterpreting something in a malicious way can also create a problem where there wasn’t one. Often there can be many different explanations for a particular event or situation. Was something an act of maliciousness, or simply an act of stupidity? Most people tend to jump to the conclusion of a malicious act. This will certainly be true sometimes. However, after looking into things more, and learning more about people and psychology, I believe that most of these acts are the result of ignorance, arrogance, and stupidity.
If action is taken without having the right knowledge and understanding of a subject or of people, we are very likely to make something worse, and perhaps even create a problem. However, people don’t like to accept the idea they don’t know. So, because of human ego and arrogance, we are screwed.