Is it possible that we sometimes add 2 + 2 and get a not quite right 5?
How many times have I jumped to conclusions about someone or something and made a fool of myself? Too many times to count!
It happens to all of us. It appears to be an innately human fault that crosses all geographical, socio-economic, age and gender boundaries.
I would like to share a story with you about a group of scientists who were conducting experiments on flies and other insects.
The point of one experiment was to teach the insects to jump on command and then make things more difficult for them to see how they reacted.
They taught a certain fly to jump several times. Then they violently removed one of its legs and tried the same command again. The same fly jumped still although not as well as the other times. The scientists continued to remove its legs until it had none left. On the final command to jump the fly didn’t move.
From this, the scientists concluded that when you remove all the flies’ legs, they become deaf! A sad but poignant example of adding 2 + 2 and getting 5.
Now let’s stop for a moment and think about our relationships. How many of our fallouts with people have been because we rushed in, assuming we knew the truth only to find out that our assumptions were completely wrong?
Often we proclaim something as an unequivocal truth, only to find later up the track that we missed something or a piece of the puzzle was missing that we just couldn’t see at the time. In our mathematical equations, we find that when that one missing factor is applied, it can alter the entire outcome and that’s the same with people.
Author Stephen Covey told a story of a man in the train with unruly young children jumping around boisterously and annoying the other passengers. The constant noise and movement disrupted them until overflowed and one angry person asked the parent why he didn’t control his kids. It was then that the man quietly explained that he was on the way home from the hospital where their mother, his wife, had just died from cancer and he was sorry for the inconvenience.
Covey tells how the whole cohort of passengers changed from intolerant and angry to compassionate and sad in a single moment. From there flowed many offers of help expressed toward the shattered family.
“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour” – Stephen M.R. Covey
A gentle reminder that we do not always know the story behind people. When we share with our neighbours, the whole neighbourhood improves and everyone prospers, crime drops and general wellbeing and safety are enhanced.
This Christmas, please don’t judge. Let’s instead offer a hand as we don’t know the whole story by the picture in front of us.
About the Author:
Dave is an Adult Educator, Speaker and Youth leader living in Western Sydney, Australia where he teaches the Electrical Trades at the Western Sydney Institute. He has Diplomas in Business and Training, a Bachelors Degree in Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training and a Masters of Education with a major in Career Development. He has lived with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders since an early age, you can read his story online. He is married with 6 children. He is a passionate coach and mentor to young people especially in the vocational guidance and career development areas. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia and has authored a course on Living with Tourette’s which you can study and purchase online through his website – www.davebrebner.com.