Day 1024: Shades of Gray

Would it be shady of me to start this black, white, & gray post with this?


Would it be shady to share a definition of the all-too-human tendency for black-and-white thinking and a suggested antidote to that common cognitive distortion?

Black-and-White thinking.
Things are either all good or all bad, people are either perfect or failures, something new will either fix everything or be worthless. There is no middle ground; we place people and situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray, or allowing for complexities. Watch out for absolute words like “always”, “never,” “totally,” etc. as indications of this kind of distortion.

Thinking in Shades of Gray. Instead of thinking in all-or-nothing terms, evaluate a situation on a scale of 0 to 100.  Instead of absolute words like “never”, “always,” and “completely,” substitute modulated words like “seldom”, “often,” or “somewhat.” Consider the concept of “good enough” (e.g., “I am doing a good enough job at this”).

Yesterday, during (and after) a conference on innovation in medical practice, I looked for shades of gray among the blacks and whites.

IMG_6169 IMG_6171 IMG_6174 IMG_6176 IMG_6179 IMG_6180 IMG_6181 IMG_6182 IMG_6183 IMG_6184 IMG_6185 IMG_6186 IMG_6188 IMG_6195 IMG_6196 IMG_6197 IMG_6199IMG_6198

It’s good to be open to color, too.


What are your gray, black, white, and colorful thoughts about an appropriately shady song for this post?

You can find Haim performing Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter” in shades of gray, here.

If you leave a black-and-white comment below, it will be read all over by me.

Thanks to all who helped me create this shadily good enough post and to you — of course! — for all the shades you see here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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43 thoughts on “Day 1024: Shades of Gray

  1. kellie@writingmoment

    Lovely again! I particularly like the world globe and the message stones. Totally agree, how nice would it be if we could all see more shades of gray…

  2. Very well done. Good music choice!
    I was especially drawn to the pumpkins and that was a most interesting globe.
    I often find myself in a contradiction of sorts. The more I really believe that all going on in the world is a gray area of nothing finite or certain…the more I can dig into a short list of absolutes in personal thinking.

  3. Some very cool photos Ann. I am a shares of gray thinker, but live life in technicolor! Is that a bit shady?…

  4. Not the least shady, and reminding us to avoid absolutes. Love those black and white pumpkins! What fun someone had, but it’s a shame, too, they didn’t let some of the natural orange show through, because it would have been awesome!

  5. Shades of gray seems like the best way to illustrate the impact of small things, how it’s not necessarily the big dramatic changes that improve our lives our serve as the best way to help others–it’s not going fully black or fully white but the shades in between that make a difference.

    The Monkees had some thoughts on this.

  6. “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Procal Harum. (I might have misspelled it, Ann. It played in the early 70’s.

    I truly agree that we must not distort our lives by either, or. Shades of grey allow us to think outside the box.

    Enjoy a wonderful week.

  7. Grey is an interesting colour because when you put greys aide by side, you find that some of them are a little bit blue or green or pink or purple. Grey disappears upon inspection.

  8. Oh, yes, Ann. I am all-in for the eco cups, avant garde pumpkins and Simon and Garfunkel’s hazy shade. Happy Wednesday to you, a statement made in black-and-white.

  9. You’re doing a great job, Joanne!

  10. Life is full of grey, learning to love the grey in life is the trick, when we do we are happier

  11. Hi Ann, cool post. I like grey, the murkier the better. Black and white annoys me, because it pigeon-holes people into thinking there are only a few perspectives. I like to function on the periphery. Love the song. It’s one of my favorites!!!
    Hope you had a day filled with colors!!!!

  12. Ann, you made me find out more about “grey” in this post. “Variations of grey include achromatic grayscale shades, which lie exactly between white and black, and nearby colors with low colourfulness.” -Wiki. It all depends whether the amounts of red, green, and blue codes are exactly equal. If they are not equal, they are said to be “chromatic”. The reason I looked this up is because of Maureen’s comment that grey sometimes has a “tint” or a “shade” of another color in it. So those greys would be the “chromatic” ones.

    What I also didn’t know is that there are “muted” colors. See here:


    That is when you take a color tone, and you mix it with white or grey, it dulls it down to make the color less. bright.

  13. The post also made me think of the “grey zone”, which is not the same concept of “shades of grey”, but still uses the word “grey”. To be in the “grey zone” in some cultures means to be undecided or uncertain.

  14. Hi Ann!
    Black, White, Grey…?
    I prefer rainbow with a splash of glitter! 😉

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