Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soggy Potato Chips

This past weekend I completed a facilitator training course called, "Becoming a Master Instructor (BMI 100). At one point in the course I'd moaned about those people who refuse to budge from a job they hate, making themselves and their bosses miserable. My instructor, Dan Jelinski from Wisdom Speaks, told me about the soggy potato chip theory. Give a child a choice between crisp potato chips and soggy, and he will take the crisp every time. Give him a choice between a soggy potato chip and none at all and he goes for the soggy. (I've found the source, How to Discipline, With Love: From Crib to College by Fitzhugh Dodson).

It's like a light bulb went off in my head; of course! This ties in also with my thoughts about selective observation, how some people miss obvious opportunities. If we aren't primed to find the good in situations, we'll miss our chance altogether.

I'm very lucky that way. My mother taught me to be a bird watcher, and I see more birds in the bush by the chirps and rustles and flashes of brown and red. My art teacher taught me to see the complex play of light, shadow and color that brings objects to life. My deaf friend taught me to catch flashed hand signals, the language of emotion that plays across the face. My dad taught me by patient sanding, to find the play of grain glowing across fine wood. The world is a much richer place if one is taught to see.
For a person who has allowed the job to grind them down, who are convinced that their leadership is at best indifferent and at worst openly hostile, they can't see the opportunities presented them. In that sort of compromised existence, a paycheque is better than nothing at all. I am reminded also of an old preacher who said to try and take a dirty old bone away from the dog and he might just bite you. Throw down a big, juicy steak and he will be happy to drop the bone. (Remembered from The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson). For those who are blinded to the opportunities around them, they first need to find new ways of seeing the world around them.

We spend far too much of our lives at work to put it all to waste. Make sure you love what you do.

I borrowed the picture from Granny's Old Fashioned Common Sense blog.