One man, six photographers, astonishing results

Canon Australia set up an experiment to see whether photos of the same man would develop differently based on information provided about the man to the six different photographers.

Here’s how it turned out:

Very interesting, right? The obvious lesson is not to judge a book by its cover. But, let’s take it a little further. Let’s be more conscious of how information from others affects our perceptions. Think about how you act when someone else tells you their own perceptions of a colleague or customer.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when a friend’s fifth-grade daughter prepared to return to grade school after the Christmas break. Her teacher went on maternity leave, so she had a new teacher coming in at the break. The teacher was new to the class but had worked there for a few years. The little girl asked around to find out how other kids liked the teacher. Of course, some did not like the teacher.

The little girl became very upset and was not looking forward to returning to school after the break. It took my friend quite some time to calm her daughter so she could think clearly. Her mom warmly suggested she give the teacher a chance and make decisions based on her experiences. Mom’s magic motivation did the trick, and it worked out fine.

Once in a while we all might need to take a step back, give people a chance, and decide whether they are valuable teammates, wise advisers, or good friends based on our own experiences. We might even need to do that more than once with the same person. Holding on to mistakes clouds judgment sometimes. 

We might need to do the same when someone else opines on an innovative idea. We see it all the time, don't we? When a new idea is brought up, the first words often uttered to do with why it won't work or how we tried that ten years ago. Let's be better about seeing things in a new way, rather than how everyone else sees it. 

The sad part about this whole experiment is that we miss out on the greatness of other people or ideas because of how we perceive them. The good news is that we can control that ourselves and not miss out any more.

The eye of the beholder

How many circles do you see in the photo?

At first glance, it might appear as if there are no circles, prompting some colleagues to think it’s a trick question.
Look again. There are at least sixteen circles.

Anyone see more than sixteen?
It is not a trick, but sometimes what is obvious to some is hidden from others. But, if we keep trying, we can see more than what is perhaps right in front of us.

When I was a kid, we made a banner for school that said, “Bloom where you are planted.” When I went to college, my mom gave me that same saying on a small cross-stitch canvas she made. Today, the same gift hangs in my kitchen as a reminder to look for more than the obvious. It also reminds me of the importance of blooming no matter what the circumstances.
When you choose to look at things in more than one way, instead of just the first way, you will see more. The perspective makes better decisions, attitudes, and behaviors possible.

Here’s another example of perspective: While every media outlet described self-proclaimed bachelor George Clooney’s wedding to an attorney over the weekend, the headline of a woman’s professional site reads, “Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor.”

Life is all in the eye of the beholder.


The emotional roller coaster of boarding a plane

Their eyes, mouths, and shoulders revealed their emotions. They were a lonely, pitiful-looking bunch. They were the final ten people boarding a flight: the C boarding group.

As the C group (who knew there was one?!) entered the Southwest airplane in Chicago yesterday, everyone seated could see their emotional highs and lows as they looked for a seat.

They entered with bright eyes and high hopes of finding that one last aisle seat for themselves. As their eyes scanned the first dozen rows of the plane, they realized there would be no aisle seat toward the front. As their eagle eyes scanned further back, it became clear that the chance of a window seat was slim too. With high hopes slightly dimmed, they headed down the long, narrow aisle toward the back of the plane.
If you saw The Green Mile, picture the boarding experience of the C group like the walk in that movie.

One of the ten grabbed an open window seat. Aha! Hopes were high again! “Maybe there is another one just for me!” thought the standing nine passengers.

Their fingers were crossed as they headed further down the aisle searching for an aisle or window seat. All hopes were obliterated when the flight attendant announced only middle seats remained. Eighteen shoulders slumped in sadness as if they had practiced a synchronized routine prior to boarding.

In a matter of minutes, those unfortunate C boarders went from hoping for an aisle or window seat to seeking an open middle seat. Three C fliers grabbed the closest middle seats. The rest were out of luck. The flight attendant had another announcement: the only empty middle seats were near the front of the plane.

Six passengers turned around in unison to walk down the aisle toward the front of the plane. I couldn’t see their feet but started humming “Oeo Oeo” from The Wizard of Oz. Remember the song the wicked soldiers sing as they march? (What are they saying anyway?)
With heads and shoulders collapsed as if they had been defeated worse than the Royals, the final six passengers returned toward the front of the plane.

What happened next surprised me: They were happy to find middle seats! As each person took the first open seat they came to, relief came to their faces. When the last person was settled into row two, the plane erupted in applause for them. (Gee, what kind of person would lead a plane of people in a round of applause?)

The emotional highs and lows those lowly C boarders experienced stuck with me. It really stood out once the plane landed in Kansas City and was parked at the gate. As the two-hundred something passengers prepared to deplane, guess who was among the first to depart? Those lowly C boarders!

They didn’t have to wait for hundreds of people to exit. They didn’t have to wait while people fumbled their gigantic carry-ons. They didn’t have to suffer the 90-degree temperature heating up the plane. It turns out, those pitiful C boarders made it to the destination as exactly the same time as everyone else, and they got to exit sooner than most of them. They were the lucky ones!

It just goes to show a few things…that emotions are temporary, life is all in your perspective, sometimes what seems horrendous at first turns out to be miraculous!