I knew the source of this joke, I would cite it. However, I’ve
heard it told several different ways in many more than two handfuls
worth of places, so let’s just mash a few of them together and
offer it up…
company Vice President has initiated a search to fill a new
position. She has asked Human Resources to send along the best
three candidates regardless of background.
first candidate arrives, and after going over a resume that
includes financial planning and an accounting degree, the VP
asks: “What is one plus one?”
candidate responds: “2”
VP thanks him for coming in and concludes the interview.
second candidate arrives, and after going over a resume that
includes running several successful small businesses, the VP
asks: “What is one plus one?”
candidate responds: “2”
VP thanks her for coming in and concludes the interview.
third candidate arrives, and after going over a resume that
includes economics and public relations, the VP asks: “What
is one plus one?”
candidate looks at the VP carefully, and then gets out of his
chair. He goes to the office door and locks it, then walks over
to the windows and draws the shades. He sits down again, leans
forward in his chair and in a lowered voice responds: “What
do you want it to be?”
my professional experiences… dealing with my job demands, co-workers,
and customers, and all scenarios that could possibly result from
any situation or combination of them… I have learned several lessons.
Two of the most important…
Perception is stronger than reality
is always an important thing. And so, let’s understand I’m not
suggesting some sort of mystical world where the square root of
sixteen is purple, everything you know is wrong, and you really
should stop reading this essay so you can go find the perfect
hat for a cup of tea before the Red Queen and the Mad Hatter arrive.
trouble is, we live in a world where: (1) person a and person
b can have wildly different opinions on things, (2) quite often
for solid evidence and fact, the point where you joined the story
or the angle from which you are viewing the world or even the
time at which a statement is made can determine accuracy, and,
(3) the world is an imperfect place.
article I’ve linked to here is an older one, and it does appear
that Google is now offering a few different options on the first
page of results. For my purposes, that doesn’t matter. What I
want you to focus on is something slightly off-center and well-beyond
the argument of what material should show up as the top for such
one – There are an awful lot of people that believe dinosaurs
and man walked the earth at the same time. There are a lot of
people that categorize the story of Noah’s Ark as non-fiction.
There are people that have seen ghosts… have seen Jesus in a
cube of ice… think that having the 8-year-old drive the ride
on mower on the highway because they’ve been drinking is a great
idea. (Because it keeps the car off the road and them away from
the wheel… that’s why.)
two – Over the ages, people have been convinced of many things
that have been discredited.
get back to the joke we opened with.
the people what they want to hear… and, from that… don’t let the
facts stand in the way of a good story.
here is where we could make a huge turn into the world of politics.
I’m not going to… because it’s too easy, and, because we don’t
reality is… politics, as elsewhere… there are far too many people
looking to provide us with some version of those magic words:
“What do you want it to be?” And, depending on the timing, the
information, and our personal beliefs, we accept it as an offer
without investigating the potential results.
you like arriving at the airport to learn about fees you weren’t
you understand why, when building something, true and accurate
measurements just might be critical?
these and other reasons that we could list here or share in conversation,
you probably can begin to develop a sense of why all of our beliefs
have value and validity. Yes, there are places where we can—hopefully—arrive
at common ground and say this is right and this is wrong without
disagreement. Overwhelmingly though, we live our lives making
choices, forming opinions, and taking actions where right and
wrong is not involved.
preferences. It’s character. It’s the things you do when others
are watching… it’s the things you do when they’re not.
funniest part of this essay for me is that I’ve started writing
it many times. Far too often I read articles, see videos, take
part in discussions, and have one thought ringing in my head:
this person is not like the rest of us. It just so happens that
the first paragraphs I wrote actually did wander down the road
of dinosaurs… did look at whether or not Google was working properly
if the first answers the search engine provided when asked what
ever happened to them involved a religious plot. Ultimately, I
decided it was worth pointing the dinosaur situation out, but
not as great a part of our wanderings as it needed to be.
if you believe in ghosts… if religion gives you strength… if you
want to think the world is flat… that works for me, regardless
of my agreement with or opposition to such ideas. As long as you
and I aren’t hurting others with those beliefs, we’re good.
let’s understand that all opinions… all feelings… are not based
on impartial or even verifiable evidence. Let’s understand that
perception and reality are often quite different. (And let’s agree
that while an 8-year-old shouldn’t be taking the riding lawn mower
out on the highway, realistically, none of us should.)