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I had an epiphany. Distraction. It has to be the most effective and widely used approach to getting what you want. Don’t believe me?

It starts with babies. They grab something you don’t want them to have and jam it into their mouths, discovering the world around them. You say “Ta Ta”, take it away and give them something they can have. A rattle, teething ring…. A classic bait and switch. I know you had that, but take this! This is better. Soon the initial item is forgotten and the baby has been successfully distracted.

We don’t realize it as adults, but this same approach applies to our daily lives. Advertisements hope to distract you from their competitors. Politicians try to distract you from the opposition. Opposing sides in debates try to dazzle you with their approach so that you won’t see their flaws.


Take the “you need scientific proof!” approach. Fine. We do need scientific proof to validate many things. However the distraction here is that more often than not, the opposing side does not have scientific proof either. If scientific proof is truly a requirement, then it is a requirement of BOTH sides. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The status quo is sometimes the status quo just because it always has been. Not because it’s been proven.

One of my favourite old tales:

A little girl is watching her Mother prepare a roast. Her Mother carefully prepares the meat, trimming excess fat, spicing it and cut the ends off of it. The child asks her Mother why she cuts the ends off the roast. “I don’t know Honey. My Mom always did so I always have. Why don’t you go ask Grandma why we do it?”

The little girl toddles off to find her Grandma. “Why do we cut the ends off the roast Grandma?” Her Grandmother explains “When I was a little girl I watched my Mother prepare roasts this way. They were the most tasty roasts! So I always have. Why don’t we go ask Nanny?”

Hand in hand, Grandmother, Mother and child go off to ask Nanny. “Nanny? When we’re making a roast, why do we cut the ends off? You’ve always been the best cook around. What’s the secret to cutting the ends off? Why does it work?”

Nanny smiled wisely and chuckled a little bit. “It has nothing to do with the flavour or the cut of the meat. I simply didn’t have a roast pan big enough to fit the roasts.”

Now while this doesn’t prove my distraction theory, it does prove that we need to ASK MORE QUESTIONS. Don’t be distracted by all of the flashing signs, loud music and authoritative speeches. Simply because it’s the status quo doesn’t mean it needs to remain. Or that it can’t be challenged! WHY is it done that way? I see you don’t want to change it but the claim of “all that extra work, for what?” is a distraction tactic. “It’s always been done this way.” is another. Trying to get you to justify your change without them having to justify why they shouldn’t.

If the conversation is worth having, it’s worth investigating on ALL sides. Don’t allow others to distract you from your true goal. A better deal. A smarter approach. A moral solution.