The concept of ‘Soldier’ and ‘Scout’ in our everyday decision-making and behavior has been in the frontline of discussion ever since Julia Galef explained it in her Tedtalk.
Cultures across the world have their way of decision-making and behavior towards people different from them. Asian cultures expect decisions and behaviors to benefit the greater good of the community or family. In the west, the need for individuality or freedom of expression influences the decision-making process and actions. Can the #learnings of the #Soldier and #Scout method help us reach the right #decision-making process?
What is Soldier behavior? As the word suggests, a soldier approaches any situation with attacking and defending. Anyone challenging them with alternatives is perceived as the enemy, and the only option is to shut down the opposition. Having to change their mind or accept an opposing view is a sure defeat for the soldier.
What is Scout behavior? A scout is motivated by curiosity to learn the truth and what is real. As the name implies, a scout goes out, checks the terrain, and conveys an accurate picture of the reality of the situation at hand. A journey made analyzing pieces of evidence, existing facts, and opposing views concluding towards the truth. There is an acceptance of personal #blind spots and a ‘feel good’ about the fact that one is mistaken.
Though we all are a mix of scout and soldier behavior, the soldier behavior is seemingly increasing around us each day, enabled by technology. The vile and inhuman threats used in social media by the believers of our new hate culture, when untruths in any #propaganda are called out, are just crazed soldiers defending their beliefs!! Soldiers are shooting down the #vaccination drives every day in a world struggling with #covid!!
Governments use the soldier mentality to protect unreal citadels of beliefs. In the United States, the citizen’s #individuality and #freedom of choice are more important than refusing teenagers access to guns!
In Asia, where the cultural burden dominates, and individual space is near nonexistent, all we see is soldier behavior. Everybody is a soldier of their beliefs and physical space, whether it is boarding a train, getting your child admitted to a school, or how a girl should behave!
So where are the scouts? When someone from a hugely successful corporation acts on a postcard from a young female engineer to change the ‘only male employees’ policy to include women in engineering, he brought a change to the lives and behavior of generations of Indians. Yes, I can call JRD Tata a scout. His decision based on facts, understanding of the cultural and gender opposition on the engineering floor, and accepting a risk of failure is scout behavior.
The scouts of our times, working in #media, to bring stories of events to us truthfully are dismissed as anti-nationals and are spied on.
The birth of a girl child in most Asian cultures brings out the soldier mentality in all communities, accumulating a dowry, what she will wear, how much she studies, and whom she will marry, are all decided.
Scout behavior is practiced by those parents, who take the brave decision of allowing their daughter to train for competitive sports or join the armed forces. Encouraging with unwavering faith, the son to be a chef, travel blogger, or environmentalist, or for both to be anything they want to be, however unconventional. Their journey braved with learnings and moments of exposure to personal blind spots would have been a challenging one.
#History has proved that the soldier mentality changed societies only because the scouts did not dare to act on their thoughts or propagate them to appropriate behavior. Let us not be the scouts who sit around discussing every possible view or opposing ones without using the behavior for decision making.
What is it that changes a human into a creature devoid of #empathy or #understanding to protect a belief irrespective of the truth in it? The manifestation of such behavior is because our decision-making is biased and based on whether we are a Soldier or Scout behavior person. Are you in an argument to win or learn? Have you won even if you win? Will your sense of victory carry you to the end when time proves you wrong? These are key questions to ask oneself.
It is not wrong to be a person of principle, and standing up for them is not a wrongful act. While our brains may be busy behaving like soldiers, standing up for the option to take decisions after analyzing an opposing stance is the right way to do it. Learning this decision-making process is possible only if people are repeatedly exposed to the Scout behavior through others who influence our times.
There is a need for more scouts than soldiers in this hate-driven, strife-ridden, and climate-compromised world we exist in today. Being of a scout mentality will benefit all, simply because it affects our decision-making process.
So how do we create scout behavior across our communities?
The workplace is an ideal place to sow the seeds of Scout mentality. We spend hours with our work colleagues. Start the practice of scout mentality to tackle problems at work. By application, it is inevitable to seep down into the personal behavior of employees and how they interact with society.
The family unit is where children and youth can be taught the scout mentality through embracing the messiness of discussing sensitive topics, challenging preconceived notions of values, teaching through proactive actions.
Relationships change minds. We live in societies interwoven through economic inequalities, cultural differences, racial prejudices, and political soldiering. Understand that only facts don’t change minds, relationships between people do. Practice scout behavior by going back on a good moment in a relationship or interaction with an opposing camp individual, to extract empathy in decision making.
As said by Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Atticus may be a fictional character but can certainly teach the living a thing about Scout Behavior.
Reference: Julia Galef in TEDx talks