“Fill ‘Er Up” …


Service Station“A motorist saw a sign “Bob’s Service Station –  Last Chance for Seventy-Cent Gas –  State Line One Mile Ahead”.

He stopped and had his tank fillled, then asked “How much is gas across the state line?”.

Answered the attendant “Sixty-five cents”

Source:  Anonymous and from memory

Okay, this probably apocryphal story is obviously set in a time long ago, which remains now only in some of our memories. 

Gas prices under a dollar a gallon?

… had his tank filled …” as in not self-service?

The trip was not planned using MapQuest, Google, and all the other fascinating apps we have now to help us do just about everything?

Sigh …Grandpa, tell me again about the olden days …

While we may not be rooked into paying more for gas now, we still tend to make the larger thinking errors indicated by this quaint and slightly dated story.  

I am going to make three useful observations about this little story that still help us in today’s much more expensive , volatile, and highly political world.  Whether you are entering the work force, in the middle of your career, contemplating the new “retirement”, or just trying to get along every day, remember these things to engage your critical thinking skills:

1)  Be careful about what you read and react to … sometimes it’s not what is said, but what is not said.

Notice that the sign contained NO misleading or incorrect information.  The thinking errors occured in the driver’s mind, not in the communication they received.

We judge others based on superficial aspects, such as appearance, voice, culture, and setting, and not do the hard work of getting to know the person.  This results in massive misuse or simple non-use of potential in our teams, organizations, and society.

2)  Do not assume, which we have all heard before and yet still fall into doing on a regular basis. 

Making assumptions is hard to avoid in this world, especially given the sophistication of technologically-driven mass communication, the dizzying speed of social and organizational change, and just the sheer volume of information with which we are “pelted” every single day.

Our bias for action encourages us to make assumptions, fed by well-meaning folks who forget Cheryl Bachelder’s caution to us that “Action does NOT equal results” in every case.  We do not always insist on having the time to not rely on assumptions.

3)  Whether considering where to  stop for gas or what career move to make, you always need to ask questions.

Questions, well-phrased and intentional, are golden arrows which fly to the heart of our goals and objectives.

When you ask the right question to the right person at the right time … well, things just seem to go more smoothly then, don’t they:).

Think about all this next time you fill up the old Hupmobile or family truckster.

Meanwhile, I am giving thanks that I have a car for which I pay outrageous gas prices to keep it filled in the Heartland ….

John

 

Image:  Wikipedia page on “service stations”

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