Iowa Specialty Hospital

Notes from Steve

July 12, 2021

I was at a restaurant the other night and a kid got locked in the bathroom and his mom had to bust him out.  She bashed the door in.  She was a true “mama bear” - she told the whole restaurant.  We asked our waiter - who didn’t really pay any attention to the situation - about it.  “Well, that’s never happened before …” and then proceeded to ignore it completely - even after she bashed down the door.  Like if a code blue happened in our lobby and the other patients had to do CPR and our staff was saying … “hmm, you don’t see that every day.”  The personal will of the mom solved the issue … like if a crowd collectively lifted a car off of an accident victim.  Her “mama bear” strength came from deep within and nothing stood in her way.  

The “will” of the individual is awesome and powerful.  We’ve all heard the saying “if you want something done, do it yourself”.  I know that I can sometimes do a lot more than if I leave something to the consensus of the group.  Have you heard of the Abilene paradox*?  (Basically, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group.)

I was talking with a friend the other day about how collective will - thinking something is great or doable because no one will step up and disagree - is killing America.  We are abdicating our ability to make our own decisions or say anything for fear of contradiction or being cancelled.  

Think about who makes the decisions in your life.  Do you? Or do you allow others to map your journey?  When your kid is stuck in a bathroom do you listen to the crowd or do you bust down the door? Educate yourself, listen to both your heart and your head when making decisions, and if you find yourself with questions about a decision; this might be your intuition saying - maybe this isn’t the right decision for you.  

*On a hot afternoon visiting in Coleman, Texas, the family is comfortably playing dominoes on a porch, until the father-in-law suggests that they take a [50-mile] trip to Abilene for dinner. The wife says, "Sounds like a great idea." The husband, despite having reservations because the drive is long and hot, thinks that his preferences must be out-of-step with the group and says, "Sounds good to me. I just hope your mother wants to go." The mother-in-law then says, "Of course I want to go. I haven't been to Abilene in a long time."

The drive is hot, dusty, and long. When they arrive at the cafeteria, the food is as bad as the drive. They arrive back home four hours later, exhausted.

One of them dishonestly says, "It was a great trip, wasn't it?" The mother-in-law says that, actually, she would rather have stayed home, but went along since the other three were so enthusiastic. The husband says, "I wasn't delighted to be doing what we were doing. I only went to satisfy the rest of you." The wife says, "I just went along to keep you happy. I would have had to be crazy to want to go out in the heat like that." The father-in-law then says that he only suggested it because he thought the others might be bored.

The group sits back, perplexed that they together decided to take a trip which none of them wanted. They each would have preferred to sit comfortably, but did not admit to it when they still had time to enjoy the afternoon.


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