True Lies

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.

Truth, Adapted, Leader, Style


  1. The conclusion of this fantastic story is just awesome…

  2. Totally agree with Arun, truth and lies are easily distinguished from each other

    Lesson that I take from this small write up is –
    1. No matter whatever life throws at you, it’s important to be honest during tough times.
    2. You cannot be lucky all the time that lies are favoured but you can be truthful all the time, never know when it might be the simple solution that does not require any luck

  3. ‘Truth alone triumphs’ not only are these great words, they have a deep meaning to and it’s associated with every aspect of life.
    The same meaning was conveyed in the article and in a very subtle way, which makes it easy to understand.

  4. Nice learnings. Honesty is a best policy.
    A life filled with authentic people is vastly enriched.

  5. A lesson to support the fact – The truth always stands and lie will fall sooner or later

  6. Yes,

    There are always 2 sides of the coin. Most of the times people hear only 1 side of the story ( which could be a lie)

    However, because the other side didn’t get the chance to speak/explain, the former one is believed to be ‘the truth’.

  7. This is a great lesson in leadership, both self-leadership and leading other.

  8. Superb !

  9. thanks, interesting read

  10. Keep on writing, great job!

  11. interesting post

  12. Thanks, I’ve been looking for this for a long time

  13. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not discuss such topics. To the next! Kind regards!!

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True Lies - Arun Nathani Blog