Four medical students were waiting in the examination hall for their professor to arrive and administer the test. Ten minutes before the end of the test, she finally arrived, limping. After apologizing profusely for coming so late, she added, “Since the exam duration is nearly over, today’s test has only one question; moreover, I will make it easier by allowing you to use Google. The question is: Diagnose the reason for my limp!”
The four students surfed the Net furiously for the probable causes. The first one diagnosed it as a skeletal deformity, the second one attributed it to neuromuscular imbalance, the third one concluded it’s septic arthritis, and the fourth one pronounced it as femoral epiphysis.
“Everybody got it wrong”, the professor smiled as she delivered their F grade, and added, “If I had a preexisting medical condition, I would have left early to arrive in time for the exam. I am limping because the heel of my left shoe broke on the way.”
Lesson: Sometimes, we overanalyze conditions. We might be thinking too much, while the catch may be an obvious one.
The four students felt shortchanged—they had studied so hard and yet failed the exam. They decided to get back at their professor by giving her a taste of her own medicine. So, on the date of the next test, they covered themselves with grease and dirt and arrived late, with only ten minutes left for the test to end. On reaching the examination hall, the students said they had been to a wedding the previous night and on the way back, they got a flat tire and had to push the car back to campus.
The professor listened to their tale of woe and again offered a short ten-minute test; only this time she puts them in different classrooms. The test had only one question: Which tire burst? Options: (a) Front Left (b) Front Right (c) Back Left (d) Back Right.
Lesson: Sometimes, we don’t analyze situations. We might be thinking too little, and overlooking the catch.
The two episodes have clashing lessons. Why? The intent of the story was not to illustrate the perils of too much or too little thinking. Instead, the objective was to illustrate the triumph of truth over deceit.
The first episode was architected by the professor. The query was based on truth. Therefore a simple right answer existed. The students orchestrated the second episode. The situation was triggered by a deceit. Hence there was no correct answer.
Speakers of truth have one authentic version. Those who lie are confused between multiple bogus versions. Sometimes, it is this quality that sets apart professors from students in the examination hall of life.