April 2013 — The Perils of Perception
I was flying through the air. Unlike the common experiences of flying, this did not involve an airplane. Rather, I was practicing jujitsu and my partner had just executed a very well-timed throw. As I went over, I suddenly realized that my partner had turned the wrong way and was throwing me off the mat and onto the concrete floor.
Needless to say, the landing was painful. I started to say something to my partner when I suddenly realized that I was still on the mat. While I thought my partner was throwing me onto concrete, he was, in fact, throwing me exactly where he was supposed to: onto a nice, soft mat. Believing that I was about to land on concrete, however, was enough to cause me to take a hard fall.
Perception, in other words, is reality.
March 2013 — What Are You Avoiding?
The amazing thing about train wrecks is that they are obvious in hindsight. However, while they are happening, everyone involved is gripped by some horrid fascination that, if not forcibly interrupted, leads to the inevitable conclusion.
By the end of this particular train wreck, a member of the senior management team had resigned and the CEO had lost the trust of many of his formerly extremely loyal employees.
February 2013 — Sign of the Fours
During the month of January, my wife and I were attending parent-teacher conferences for one of our children. We walked into the building and went to sign in at the desk. There, my wife pointed out the odd date on the sign in form. Instead of reading, "1/15/13," as one might expect given that the month was January, it read, "4/15/13." Given the freezing temperatures outside, one might be forgiven for assuming that this represented some sort of wishful thinking. In fact, though, closer examination of the sign in sheet revealed that someone earlier in the day had written the date using a stylized number "1," such that it looked vaguely like a four. Everyone after that simply copied down the date as they saw it written, apparently without giving any thought to the fundamental lack of logic inherent in the situation. In other words, even though it was January, even though it was freezing cold and there was snow on the ground, even though we weren't even a month past New Year's Day, even though, in other words, all the data screamed "January," people were writing April for the date.
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