What Were They Thinking?

What Were They Thinking - Pathmaker BlogOn April 24, 2014, two men in Kenya were taking selfies with a wild elephant when they were trampled to death by the irate pachyderm who proceeded to bury their bodies with brush. What in the world were they thinking?

Just in case you may think that stupidity of this sort is limited to third-world countries, here is a story from Lake Allatoona, a few miles northwest of Atlanta. A recent high-school graduate, 18-year old Chance Turner, and his friends decided to play the Shopping Cart Game early one morning. This, by the way, is a regular pastime for collegial young men on vacation in NW Georgia. A shopping cart is tied to a tree near the dock. A, for lack of a better word, “brave” young man sits in the cart, whereupon his friends run him and the cart at high speed off the end of the dock. After the big splash, the rider returns to shore and everyone pulls on the rope to retrieve the cart for the next round.

On the morning of May 25, 2014, barely a month following the pachyderm paparazzi were pummeled, Chance decided to take a chance. Unfortunately, he also decided not to tie the cart to the tree AND to strap himself to the cart with his belt. The coroner ruled it an accidental death when he drowned in nearly 30 feet of water, still strapped to the cart.

What was he thinking? We can’t say for sure, but Chance’s parents agreed that, “Not one person thought that this was not a good game to play.” To put it simply, not one person thought at all.

Think about this

Life is full of risks. We have to have our wits about us to successfully turn risks into rewards. We can, if we so choose, think of ways to minimize some risks. For the most part, we simply have to understand the risks and react accordingly, which, apparently. none of these gentlemen did.

Einstein said that, “Only 5% of the people think. Another 10% only think that they think. The other 85% would rather die than think.” Why would anyone want to be counted in the 85%? The fact is that these three actually did die because they did not think.

It’s worse than you think

This is the place where you may be inclined to retort that these incidents were just flukes. Let me posit a theory: Let’s say that are on vacation, that you go to church on Sunday and you meet a guy named Anatole. The next time you go on vacation, you go to the same church and you see Anatole again. Another year passes, you go back to the beach, and there Anatole is again! Is it a fluke? Of course not. He doesn’t just go there once a year. He goes to church there all the time!

Here’s the point. It is no fluke that those gentlemen met their demise. People who think don’t do it just once a year. They think all the time. In the same way, people who don’t think practice the deadly art of not thinking all the time. It’s only a matter of time before not thinking catches up with them.

Thinking takes practice, but it can eliminate a whole lot of unintended consequences that make us look foolish, or even make us look dead. Don’t be a fool. Think.

(Thanks to the DarwinAwards.com for the true stories of people who weren’t thinking.)

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