…because some thoughts are worth remembering
In an episode of This American Life that introduced another podcast called Invisibilia, the hosts of the two shows discussed an experiment where lab rats ran through a maze. The rats handled by experimenters who were told their assigned rat was smart performed better than the rats handled by experimenters who were told their assigned rat was dumb. They were the same rats.
How could this be possible? The mere thought (formed based on misinformation) transferred in one way or another (the way experimenters handled the rats, from eye contact, touch, etc.) affected the rats’ performance. And we are talking rats.
If any portion of this experiment applies to humans, then it is clear that our thoughts that translate to body language, softness and duration of our gaze, pitch and tone of our voice, would affect whomever we interact with, from our peers to our children. And in this age of social media, this reach extends even farther, to how we react to a politician’s sound byte to the choice of emoji in our Tweets read by strangers.
While we need to be realistic, we can expect more rather than less from each other, from our community and from ourselves. Henry David Thoreau said it best in Faith in a Seed:
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”
Because our potential may not be a limited resource waiting to be tapped but a renewable resource based on our expectations.
Photo: St. Supery Vineyard, Rutherford, California