Hide & Steal

A math teacher took a bag of cookies out of her purse and asked a little boy, “If I give you two cookies, and then another two cookies, how many cookies will you have?”  “Five cookies,” he replied.

She was surprised by his reply.  So, she used her fingers to help him count.  “Look, if I give you one, two—TWO cookies—and another one, two—TWO cookies—how many cookies will you have?”  He again answered, “Five cookies.”

The teacher was annoyed but decided to try with a different object.  “If I give you two chalks and another two chalks, how many chalks will you have?”  “Four chalks,” the boy replied.

Relieved, the teacher reverted to the original question.  “Now tell me, if I give you two cookies and another two cookies, how many cookies will you have?”  “Five cookies!” came the reply.

Angry, the teacher chided the little boy for lying even though he could count.  “I am not lying, teacher,” the boy clarified as he took out an extra cookie from his lunch box!  Embarrassed, the teacher sheepishly put the bag of cookies back in her purse.

Lesson:  Examine the opposite person’s viewpoint (and not yours) before jumping to conclusions!

The teacher kept thinking about the cookie incident on her metro ride back home when she suddenly noticed that the man sitting beside her grabbed a cookie from the bag, which was placed in between them, and put it in his mouth.

She ignored his rude behaviour to avoid a scene.  But as she continued munching the cookies, the thief kept pace at diminishing her stock.  With each cookie she took, he took one too.

Finally, one cookie was left, she wondered what he would do.  With a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.  He offered her half, as he ate the other.  She snatched the half, fuming at the nerve of the fellow who didn’t even have the courtesy to express gratitude.

As her stop came, she gathered her belongings and headed to the exit, refusing to look back at the thief.  When she reached home and opened her purse to take out her keys, she gasped in surprise.  There it was, her untouched bag of cookies!  She moaned in despair as she was the one who had been stealing his cookies!

Lesson:  Examine your own viewpoint (and not the opposite person’s) before jumping to conclusions!

Two conflicting lessons within hours.  How?  Because the viewpoint of the two lessons is a “viewpoint”.  You see, viewpoints (as the name suggests) are just unidirectional perspectives.  They don’t encompass 360 degrees view.  Perspectives create ‘opinions’ while the entire picture uncovers ‘facts’.  As the saying goes, “Everyone should be entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own set of facts!”

Often, the one thing that differentiates successful people is their willingness and patience to ascertain facts before jumping to conclusions.

Diligence, Adapted, Skills, Style


  1. Fully agree with you, Sir. This is the most common issue with all of us, we tend to think that only our “point of view” is important and valuable. However, the truth is that most of the times we fail to see the other side of the curtain.

  2. Agreed… Instead of verifying and communicating, we start judging… if she would have verified her viewpoint or thoughts which came in her mind then this mishap would have never happened.. Every action depends upon many factors and after seeing both side of stories decisions taken will always give best results.

  3. Very nicely explained Sir

  4. This really teaches us a very good lesson of the need of self observation, self correction and self examination.. if we craft well, our natural tendency of jumping to conclusions to early then I feel success will not be to far away..
    Really a wonderful example.

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Hide & Steal - Arun Nathani Blog