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A.K.A. "Michael's Meanderings"

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Most Things Are Not Black and White

Sep 12, 2023
black to white gradient with large gray area

I've been seeing a trend lately on social media. And by recently, I mean for several years, although it only appears to be getting worse.

We have lost our ability to understand that *almost everything* in life is a shade of gray. And when I talk about a shade of gray, I mean that in a metaphorical way. Most ideas, opinions, beliefs, etc. are not 100% absolutely true all of the time, without question, without caveat, and without any consideration to any other viewpoint.

The reality is that there are very few things in life that are black and white. There are even fewer things in horses and horseback riding that are black and white. 

I can't tell you how many times I've said "I don't know" in my life. 

Or "Let's try this".

Or "I'm not sure".

Or "Well the best way I've found..." (Notice I said "best", not "only" or "right")


Because at the end of the day, the universal truth is that there really aren't many universal truths. There are many roads that lead to Rome. Multiple different people have had reasonable, considerable, consistent success getting to the same point but getting there in multiple different ways. What works for one person may not work (as well) for another. At the same time, while there are overarching principles of how to ride, there are many finer details that slightly change your approach: what works for one horse may not be the best technique for another horse.

That is why I try to present as many viewpoints and caveats as I can when I explain things, although sometimes it is hard to do so because then it gets very long-winded!

The point I am trying to make here is that we all need to take a collective deep breath sometimes. It's not "Our way or the highway". You are going to be miserable in life if you subscribe to only your very narrow viewpoint and don't allow for any caveats or other possibilities. Because they are out there, whether you want them to be or not. So you might as well accept them.

Be sure to stay humble. Stay inquisitive. Stay questioning. Allow yourself to be open to other viewpoints, because many times they may have some merit. Even if, at the end of the day, you still think your opinion on a subject is the best way, that doesn't mean that all others are completely wrong. 

I can't tell you how many times in my riding career that I have adjusted and changed strategies, understandings, approaches, and so much more. And that is perhaps also the best and worst thing about horses: they are individuals. It will NEVER be a one-size-fits-all solution. What works best for one horse may only work "okay" for another. Be willing to experiment, be willing to try different things, be willing to accept that even if you found a pretty good way to do something, there may be an even better way.

Everyone can't know everything. But everyone knows something that you don't know.

Be humble. It's not humiliating to admit that you were wrong. We don't look down on people who admit they were wrong. We should view it as an even greater sign that they are a better person. Be careful of those who *never* admit that they were wrong, or at the very least, never admit that there is validity to other viewpoints. Because those people will most often not have the right answer, precisely because they have not allowed themselves to be open to other possibilities. Out of all the possibilities of solutions to a various subject, it is very VERY unlikely that this person found the best one to begin with and is right to exclude all other options. 

So to wrap up my rambling: stay humble and remind yourself that the world is a whole lot of gray and very little black and white.

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