It’ll be different this time

The clichéd (but incorrect) definition of insanity is to repeatedly display the same behaviour believing it will elicit different results, despite all evidence to the contrary.

It’s wrong but it illustrates a point.

I was reminded of this when in a queue to get on the underground. Person after person trying to swipe their card at the barrier only for it not to register. Having failed they were forced to move to another gate.

The next in line sees this happen but thinks, hopes, assumes the problem lay with the previous person’s card. Multiple failed swipes later this person, too, has to move on.

And so it continues.

Each individual in the queue with the misguided belief that it will work for them even though they have witnessed what happened to those in front.

How much evidence do we need before we accept it, before we are willing to acknowledge that what should happen just isn’t going to?

We are so caught up in the Pavlovian cycle of perform action A, expect result B that we are caught by surprise when result B does not occur. We are temporarily thrown by it, frozen in our disbelief.

How deeply entrenched is our behaviour that we must experience things four, five times, maybe more, before it occurs to us that we must try something else?

Without change this time will not be different.


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