Psychologists told the following story to a group of volunteers. “A tyrant king taxed his people to the point of starvation. A group of brave men decided that for the good of all the king must be overthrown. They met to devise a plan. They knew that the main entrance of the king’s palace was heavily guarded so a direct attack on the palace was bound to fail. There were several side entrances to the palace where perhaps one or two of the men could slip in disguised as minstrels or servants but a large group would arouse suspicion.
Most of the king’s guards were at the main entrance. A smaller number guarded the side entrances. Only one or two guards were stationed outside the door to the king’s private apartments.One man in the group came up with the following plan. They would enter the palace in two’s and three’s disguised as servants or minstrels and make their way to the king’s private apartments.There they would meet up and the whole group overpower the one or two guards outside the king’s private apartments.
The group agreed to follow this man’s plan.The plan worked well.They overthrew the tyrant king who was replaced by his younger brother, a just and fair man.
The group of volunteers were told after hearing the story to imagine that they were a group of doctors attemptiong to solve a medical problem.The problem was this; their patient had a life-threatening tumour.
A machine existed that could treat the condition by giving a powerful dose of x rays close to the site of the tumour.However to reach the tumour directly the rays would have to pass through other essential organs of the body which would be damaged in the process if a strong dose were given.
Giving a weak dose would be ineffective. Can you see the answer? Most of the volunteers could not. Here is a clue. Another group of volunteers who had not heard the above story were equally successful or unsuccessful as those who had.
The answer is that weak doses of the x rays could be applied at several other sites on the patient’s body and caused to meet up at and destroy the tumour whilst bypassing the vital organs. The point of the experiment was to see if people were able to use knowledge they had gained in one situation and apply it to a different one. Most people in the experiment failed miserably.
The psychologists concerned with the above experiment on using it more widely and with different groups concluded that most people do not take knowledge from one area of life and use it in another.
Many years ago I bucked this trend by taking attitudes and behaviours that I used in my business life and friendships, which were going well and applying them to my personal relationships which were a disaster.
Divorced and with a broken engagement behind me by the age of 26 I found my ideal man by applying skills and knowledge used in other areas of my life. Has our relationship stood the test of time? Twenty plus years on I think that I can safely say’ that “it has”. So if you are currently grappling with a problem that seems insoluble looking to other areas of your life for inspiration might just be your answer.