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sometimes the winner is the one who shows up

November 12, 2013

As opening words to a room of one hundred 15-year-old girls go, there are some words that are guaranteed to get their attention…

“Don’t you just love the feeling of putting your hand into the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in a while and finding money that you didn’t expect to find there? That happened to me this morning and it made me feel so great I want to give the $10 note I found to someone else.”

As follow-up words to a room of one hundred 15-year-old girls go, there ares some words that are guaranteed to arouse their suspicion…

Holding up the $10 note she added “Who would like to come up here and collect it from me?”

You don’t have to read minds to hear the conversations that were taking place inside their heads.

“What’s the catch? What is she going to ask me to do if I go up there? What if it is embarrassing? In front of all my friends – no way! I might just check the pockets of my jacket for the third time … and retie my shoe laces.”

We know our own minds well enough to know which of those conversations would run through our head if we were offered the chance of collecting $100 from a facilitator in front of a room full of our peers.

As the story was told to me there were only two girls in the room who took the chance.

Now I don’t have any research to back this up, but my sense is the statistics are about right for the wider population. There are one or two people in every hundred who are prepared to give it a go. They know there are risks and they take them into consideration.

Then they take action.

The rest of the crowd sits and says “That should have been me…”, “Well, she is not so great, I could have done that.”, “I am not brave like she is.” or “I didn’t want the $10 anyway.”

The two that stood up were still concerned there might be a catch but what was the worst that could happen?

As it turns out, there was no catch. No embarrassing tasks to perform. The two girls split the $10 and returned to their seats much richer for the experience.

All they had to do to collect their prize was to show up and sometimes that is all that it takes.

***

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