Monday, October 08, 2007

We're all Doubting Thomases

Last week I sat on an airplane waiting for it to take off, and as I looked out my window I noticed a couple of maintenance techs staring at a small puddle of fluid beneath the wing. Over the course of time more people came out to look at the puddle and I noticed one guy leaning down and drawing his fingertip through the puddle, then rubbing his fingers together, to check and see what the liquid was.

A few minutes later a couple of more guys came out they talked with the other people for a little bit and then each of them separately tested the fluid with a finger again. I imagine that the first guy told them what he had found with his finger tests and nonetheless they had to bend down and try it themselves.

This told me a lot about how people operate. Despite what anyone tells us usually we have to experience things for ourselves in order to trust what the answer is. Similarly, showing my son George how to tie his shoes isn't very effective. He has to try and fail for a while in order to truly learn it--even if he doesn't much like the process.

[Postscript: the liquid on the ground was hydraulic fluid, and we had to change to different flights to get where we were going.]

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(Photo by rodnem via stock.xchng)


Cam Beck said...

Reminds me of the old milk test. Why is it that when milk is spoiled, it seems that everyone wants you to smell it for yourself?

"I believe you already!"

Glad they had the sense to move you to another plane.

John Caddell said...

Cam, thanks for your comment. I like your blog; it's nice that your employer is cool with you blogging. So many of them are paranoid about anyone inside speaking with an independent voice (or even HAVING an independent voice!).

Rgds, John