A cookie conundrum: Are you certain you have all the facts?

A cookie conundrum: Are you certain you have all the facts?

A mental exercise in refraining from assumptions.
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Oct 01, 2012

Stop! Think for a moment.

Imagine you’re in Heathrow Airport, returning from the Olympics. While you’re waiting for your flight, you notice a kiosk selling all types of fancy shortbread cookies.

You buy a box, put them in your traveling bag and then patiently search for an available seat at the gate so you can sit down and enjoy your cookies.

Finally, you find a seat next to an English gentleman. You reach down into your traveling bag and pull out your box of shortbread cookies.

As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you intensely. He stares as you open the box of cookies. His eyes follow your hand as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth. Just then he reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box—and eats it!

You’re more than a little surprised at this, especially since the man was obviously an English gentleman. Actually, you’re at a loss for words. Not only does he take one cookie, but he alternates with you—for every one cookie you take, he takes one!

What’s your immediate impression of this gentleman? Do you want to sit next to him as you fly over the ocean? He’s got some nerve! Can you imagine the words you might use to describe this gentleman to your associates back at the veterinary hospital?

Meanwhile, you both continue eating the cookies until there is only one. To your surprise, the man reaches over and takes it. But then he does something quite unexpected. He breaks that cookie in half and, with a smile, gives the biggest piece to you.

After he’s finished with his piece he gets up and, again with a smile, he boards the same plane that you planned on boarding.

You think to yourself, “Did this really happen?” You’re left sitting there dumbfounded and still hungry. So you go back to the kiosk and buy another box of the expensive cookies. You then return to your seat and begin opening your new box of cookies. When you glance down into your traveling bag, you notice that in your bag is your original box of unopened cookies.

Only then do you realize that when you reached down earlier, you had reached into the other man’s bag and removed his box of cookies by mistake.

Now what do you think of the man? Likely you have just experienced a profound shift in your opinion. You’re seeing things from a new point of view.

Now, think of this story in context of your life. Is it time to change your point of view? Seeing things from a different point of view can be enlightening. Often, we form biased opinions without knowing all the facts.

Think outside of the (cookie) box. Do not settle for the status quo. Remember to be open to suggestions from others. Your situation might not be what it seems to be at first.