Thursday, June 11, 2015

Overcorrection

Consider a situation. You are on the Black Pearl with Captain Jack Sparrow (don't we all love him?), headed out for a memorable adventure in unknown seas. After passing through a storm, the navigator comes up and tells you that you are headed in the wrong direction. What will Jack Sparrow do?

"Well, he'll ask him what is the right direction then," you say? You are right. And then the navigator will say that you're off by, say, 5 degrees. The captain will adjust the heading and, Voilà! Back on track!

So, what's the point of making up this situation when its so damn simple? Well, anyone could solve this, its common sense!

But alas, when this kind of situation arrives in real life, most of us do not follow proper common sense and follow a very coarse, absurd course of action. And that is today's topic. The Curse of Overcorrection.

Let's go back to our example. What would you think if Captain Jack Sparrow, upon being told that the ship is headed the wrong way, would get up the mast and say - "Turn the ship backwards!"

"Are you freaking nuts," is that what you're thinking? But think about it again. Captain Jack Sparrow has just said something profoundly intellectual. Haven't we always been told that right is the opposite of wrong? So, considering that, the right way must be the opposite of the wrong way!

Downright stupid! The world was made in three dimensions. If you started walking backwards every time someone told you that you were going the wrong way, you'd end up absolutely nowhere. And yet, in practical life, that is what most of us do.

They say - "You're too emotional." You say- "Then I'll become more practical." They say - "You are naive." You say - "Then I'll stop trusting people." They say - "You speak too much." You say - "I'll keep quiet then." And there you are, painting this colourful world in the black and white drapes of right and wrong. There you are, walking backward and forward on a planet that's supposed to be spherical. That's overcorrection!

Think about it! What happened to ingenuity? What happened to originality? If all we have is a choice between two opposite roads, then why was the world map created with four directions? All our lives, we rebel to be free, and yet we remain slaves to the idea that right must be the opposite of wrong, that the two cannot be two very similar ideas, or even the same at times.

I'll come straight to the point. Whenever we try to do something out of character, like the polar opposite of who we generally are, just because someone told us that we had been behaving wrongly so far, we fall prey to the malpractice of overcorrection. In definition, overcorrection is the act of consciously defying one's fundamental nature because of the fear that it may cause them trouble, hurt or unnecessary confrontation. I'd like to extend this definition a bit. Overcorrection also includes consciously showing the exact opposite of what you're actually feeling because you think that your actual feelings might produce an annoying situation.

Come to think of it, we are all dabbling in overcorrection a lot. Which is unhealthy. Because even though you do it to avoid getting or inflicting hurt, that is exactly what will happen in the end.

I don't have any answers when it comes to this problem. You can think for yourselves how this habit affects our lives. Also, no matter how much I want to, I won't say that you should not do overcorrection in your life. After all, it was I who made the point that the right thing is not the opposite alternative of the wrong thing. No, it is a different alternative, that's all.

Hopefully, next time you catch yourself overcorrecting, you'll think about the cruise with Captain Jack Sparrow that I mentioned earlier, and you'll realise how unscientific and illogical it is as a solution.

Till then, drink me up yo hearties!