“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 ….



Image:  Wikipedia page on “service stations”

Lead Change Group | “Making It Easy – A Few Thoughts Around This Festive Time Of Year”

Doing my usual thing, but over at the Lead Change Group blogging post today.  If you are not yet familiar with this fine group of professionals, check us out.  Start with my post and work your way back through the month … it will be time well spen:

Lead Change Group | Making It Easy – A Few Thoughts Around This Festive Time Of Year.

Comments, contributions, and critiques are welcome …


Random Nuances…

Onion“I am always looking for that nuance, that moment of truth, and you can’t really do that fast.”

Our lives are full of nuances … which we do not always recognize … I have lately been made more aware of how many people approach life’s interactions without understanding the complexities represented by my words below.

The workplace, the home, the country, and the world are darker and more cruel places because of this.

Being a police officer is a job.  Being a young person is a life event.
They are not comparable things.

A leader who takes care of their people is popular, while a leader who achieves a vision is revered.   

An extra few seconds can last a lifetime … or the blink of an eye.

A ten-second conversation can create, strengthen, or destroy a relationship.  Choose your words carefully.

The liar looks straight at you, because their intentions are more important than your emotions. The honest person looks away as they speak, because they know the impact their words will have on you.   Both speak not just with their  lips, but also with their eyes.

He who fights for you and yours is a hero.    He who fights for the others is a villain. Their behaviors are judged accordingly.

24 hours to a child is an eternity.  24 hours to an adult is a short time.   24 hours to an older person is a gift.

The one who breaks their gaze after a brief moment is suspected, while the one who holds it too long is feared.

Sometimes an extra dash of seasoning makes all the difference.

Our view of a thing is dependent on our views of everything … our lives, our experiences, our beliefs, our attitudes, our values, our pain.  

Not sure I completely agree with the leading quote … nuance does not equal truth, but it does equal reality.  We all construct our own reality, based on our perceptions of how things are and how they should be.  

Nuance  points out the variations and possibilities.

Wondering why thinking critically is such an elusive goal in the Heartland ….






A Little Reflection Going A Long Way …

My friend Katie has been reflecting on events in her home town …Katie -P  Reflection

… and her sharing gives us a wonderful example of the power of self-reflection to stimulate critical thinking, which in turn leads to growth.  

Many of us now also have a strong model to use for our own self-learning.  Whatever your current position with regard to the many issues facing us as a society and you as an individual, less reacting and more thinking will create positive movement.

Feeling relaxed, and yet somewhat uncomfortable at the same time in the Heartland ….



World Philosophy Day 2014 – UNESCO

 PhilosophyToday is World Philosophy Day … a day devoted to thinking about thinking …

Philosophy is one of those much-maligned notions … we often misunderstand or simply do not recognize the centrality of our philosophies to how we live.  Too often, we run screaming from anything that smacks of a philosophical nature, a looking at a thing or a concept from a meta-view.  Sometimes being philosophical equates to being hard to understand, even when the best philosophy is as clear as clean water.

I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.

Charles M. Schulz

For some, philosophy equates to religion or spirituality, although it is not just that.  Our religious beliefs will reflect our philosophies around ourself and others, but philosophy also addresses non-religious issues.

For others, philosophy represents a wasting of time pondering “mushy” things, and not getting on with the business of living.  I blame philosophers for this one, since sometimes the philosophic among us take guilty pleasure in being mysterious through unclear or mystic thoughts, apparent only to them. 

Philosophy is common sense with big words.

James Madison

For too many, philosophy is idle consideration of minutiae and trivialities.  Philosophy can be sidetracked by interesting, but not universal questions and we sometimes just plain take refuge in considering the philosophy of a thing, rather than living that thing.

Philosophy often seems inaccessible or confusing, or at least it did when I studied it in formal education.  However, I have found that the consideration and creation of a personal philosophy, combined with the evaluation of jointly held philosophies to be the most important elements of my life.  

Insert your own closely held belief about life here:)

Our philosophy determines our lives.  

For much more about this day, click HERE.

Feeling rather thoughtful in the Heartland ….