On Seeing Beyond the Mirror

In his blog post, The Trap of Insightful Selection, Seth Godin shares a story that provides a powerful analogy of the human selection process and a lesson that  great leaders learn from it.

“’Which one do you want?’ – There were 100 quarts of strawberries at the farmer’s market yesterday. In answer to the farmer’s question, the person ahead of me in line spent a full minute looking them all over before picking one. The thing is: 90% of the strawberries in a quart are hidden from view. They’re beneath the top layer. There’s no strategy to tell which quart is better than the other, unless you (erroneously) believe that the top layer is an accurate indicator of what lies below.”

He writes: “We get satisfaction out of picking, even if we know that our data is suspect and evidence is limited. We like the feeling of power and control, even though we have very little. If all you’re seeing is the top layer, you’ve learned nothing.” This lesson is not lost in the decision-making of great leaders. They realize the importance of looking beyond the surface, whether it is a person or an issue. There is always something deeper and more profound to be known and understood. As Anaxagoras wrote: “Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen.” Additional steps are needed to transform appearances into reality.

Godin states: “The real information comes from experience. If the farmer is the sort of person who won’t put the clinkers on the bottom, she’s earned our trust.” Experience, data, words and actions serve to peel back the surface to a true reality. May we relish, enjoy and welcome the beauty and excitement of new ideas, perspectives and people. May we seek to understand their true greatness in the depth of their innermost realities as we reflect on the words of Samuel Butler: “Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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