Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared. But being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the
national weather service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?" It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold," the meteorologist at the weather service responded.
So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared. A week later he called the national weather service again. "Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?" "Yes," the man at national weather service again replied,
"It's going to be a very cold winter."
The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.
Two weeks later the chief called the national weather service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"
"Absolutely," the man replied. "It’s looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen."
"How can you be so sure?" the chief asked.
The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy.
The story (apart from being funny) also reflects the way in which we can get ‘carried away in the moment’. If we see an item that we like at an auction house (or bid for an item on eBay) we can easily end up paying more than we wanted because other people also want the item. They want it, we want it. They bid, we bid. They bid again, we bid again and so on, until one of us cracks. If we win, we’re pleased that we now own the item but worried about the cost. If we lose, we’re disappointed. The Indians in the story collected far more wood than they actually needed because of the supposed threat of a very cold winter. At least they won’t have to collect so much wood next winter. If we pay more than we should have for our auction item, at least we’ve got it to use or admire for as long as we want.
What else does this story illustrate? Check your sources? Understand the assumptions that are being made when someone gives you advice? That the weatherman (probably an experienced midlifer) was using his local knowledge to find the best answer?
It’s probably all of these. It also demonstrates how easy it is to believe that something is true because ‘that’s the way it’s done around here’. So when someone tells you that ‘it can’t be done’ or ‘it won’t work here’, try it anyway!
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