Saturday, January 01, 2011
I can barely believe it's been more than a month since I last posted. The time has flown, filled with work and my granddaughter and the holidays. But here is January 1 and here I am, wishing us all the happiest of new years.
A few weeks ago, I came across a study done by the London School of Economics. Researchers set out a box of tacks, a candle and a book of matches and asked each subject to secure the candle to the wall in such a way that it could be burned without dripping on the wall. (They were testing the value of incentive programs, but that's not the issue here.) Quite a few people tried to tack the candle to the wall, which didn't work.
Fewer, but still a reasonable number, lit the candle and poured melted wax onto the heads of the tacks or onto the wall and tried to stick the candle to the wall before the wax hardened. That didn't work, either.
A precious few people dumped the tacks out of the box, tacked the box to the wall, melted some wax and poured a puddle to secure the candle to the bottom of the box. That worked like a charm.
Fascinated by the task, I asked a dozen people how to complete it. Only one, my sister, ever figured it out, and she got it in about five seconds. I'll never know for sure because I read the study, but I doubt I would have seen the box as anything other than the holder of the tacks.
Having coffee with Mom and Deb the day I was going to put up my Christmas tree, I mentioned that I wished my son would come over and bring up the tree from the basement. The tree box is heavy and getting it up the stairs always is a pain. My sister looked at me oddly and asked why I didn't bring the tree up one section at a time.
Sixteen Christmases. I've put up my tree alone for 16 Christmases. For 15 Christmases, I've struggled to drag the whole box up the stairs and then back down again. It never, ever occurred to me to bring the tree up one section at a time. Probably never would have.
So, in this new year, I resolve to see alternatives, to see old things in new light, to open my mind and heart to possibilities.
May this year be one of possibilities for us all.
And may we see them clearly.