John had lived his whole life in his house. In fact, he was the third generation of his family to live in the same house and work at the same plant.
Mike was John’s life-long friend. They grew up on the same street. Coincidentally, Mike was also the third generation in his family to live in his house. Mike and his father and grandfather worked at the same plant as John and his father and grandfather.
One day at lunch, John was innocently telling a story and made mention of how he drove to work.
Mike stopped him. “You come to work on Main Street? That’s not the fastest way.”
John had never in his life gone any other way, but Main Street. When he started at the plant, his father always drove them to work on Main. He had told John his grandfather also drove Main to work his whole life.
“You’re mistaken, my friend. My family has driven down Main to work for three generations. It is the fastest way. There’s no other viable route.”
Mike bowed his neck a bit. He loved his friend, but he was clearly wrong. He wanted to set him straight.
“John, my family has driven Oak Street for three generations. Maybe your grandfather never timed the two routes, but Oak is faster.”
John asked, “Have you ever driven Main Street?”
“Of Course not,” Mike replied. “My family has driven Oak forever. Once you have the best route, why change?”
“Because my family has driven Main forever and it’s the only way to go,” John asserted.
Joe, who lived up the street from John and Mike, overheard the conversation. He was new to town and the plant. He’d only been there six months. He hated to see the two friends angry with each other.
“Gentlemen,” he said. “When I came to town, I had no idea which was the fastest route to work. I tried Main Street. I tried Oak Street. I tried Elm Street. They all got me here at about the same time. I liked the drive best on Elm Street so I drive that way.”
John and Mike stared at Joe like he was from Mars.
“Everyone knows Elm Street is the slowest way,” John argued and Mike nodded.
“Have either of you ever driven Elm Street?” asked Joe.
“No,” Mike replied. “I don’t need to drive other routes to know Oak is the fastest and the best…I’d even say the only way any intelligent person would go from our houses to this plant.”
“But you haven’t ever tried…”
“Don’t need to,” John agreed. “Main is the only way. If I may say, Joe, it’s disrespectful for someone new to town to suggest another way. My grandfather was a smart man…”
“Are you saying my grandfather wasn’t?” Mike intervened.
And so it goes for yet another day on planet Earth. New ideas are scary…terrifying. They hit us at an emotional level. They upset tradition. Traditions are wonderful things up to the point where they limit your ability to see a bigger picture, adapt to new information, or limit your freedom to choose. And when traditions clash? Reason is overcome by emotion. Conditioning kicks in and is defended. People are divided. Anger, violence, and war erupt on our planet.
It’s a big world and a bigger universe. Maybe you had the smartest grandfather ever. Maybe he read the right book, belonged to the correct political movement, and knew the right way to work.
Maybe not. Maybe listening, broadening, and studying the big picture is the smartest course of all.
Be the intrepid explorer you’re meant to be today. Chart your own path.
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Author Graham Hancock said, “We are a species with amnesia.” This book begins the awakening. Is it fact? Is it fiction? You decide!