Useful Lie Number One
Useful lies? They are beliefs which we cannot prove, but which do more good than harm. Here is a belief from the top of that list.
What are useful lies? They are not necessarily lies, but beliefs that benefit us, yet cannot be proven. You don't even need to believe them in the traditional sense. You can use them as "operating principles." Calling them lies refers top the fact that we essentially pretend to believe what we have no real evidence for. It is time for an example from the true events of the day.
Useful Lie Nuber One - Everything Happens For Reason
This morning I was on the highway by four thirty, heading out of Canon City to climb Mount Yale. It is important to start early, in order to be off the summit before the afternoon thunderstorms move in. As I was approaching Salida, I saw a scattering of rocks on the road, which had fallen during the night, and it was too late to avoid them.
The front driver's side tire was immediately punctured by a rock and was losing its air. I pulled off the highway and took a look. It was completely flat. I opened the trunk, and the first thing I noticed was that everything was wet. Apparently the trunk had been leaking when it rained. Then I saw that the bolt holding the jack in place was rusted. I tried turning the nut with no luck. I took the crowbar and pounded on it, but it wouldn't budge.
For a break, I moved everything into the car, so I could get at the spare tire under the trunk carpet. The wing-nut holding it in place was also rusted solidly in place, and couldn't be pounded free. It must be a test of my ingenuity, and a chance to practice my creative problem solving skills, I decided (useful lies?). I tried using a rock, managing only to crush my finger. This was an opportunity to dance around, and practice my profanity.
I remembered that in a box of miscellaneous tools in the trunk there was a small hacksaw, with a four-inch blade. Kicking and stepping on the jack had only bent the metal brackets, so I decided to saw through the bolt. The saw broke. I was able to fix it, and I made it through the bolt, but when I took the jack out, it wouldn't work. It was all rusted up. I found some oil in the trunk and dripped it on the threads of the jack, then pounded on it with the crowbar. It moved, and I was finally able to use it.
I washed in the river, enjoyed the rising sun, then started on the much thicker bolt holding the spare tire in place. of course the saw broke, I fixed it, the saw jammed, I started over, and eventually, the tire was free. I wiped off the slime that was growing on it. Soon I had the other tire off, the spare on, and was listening to it leak air. It wenjt flat. Good thing I had a bicycle tire pump. Mission accomplished, no problem.
I arrived at the tire shop in Salida at seven. It opened at eight. I waited the hour, then discovered that the tire was beyond hope, got a new tire put on, and... it was too late to go climb the mountain. It also was raining. It would have been an awful day to be up high on a rocky peak. Perhaps I even would have been seriously hurt had it not been for that flat tire.
Do I believe that? No, I don't even believe that everything happens for a reason. I don't have to, you see. Acting as if that's the way life works is enough. I could have been discouraged, pissed off, or in an otherwise unproductive state. Instead I acted as though things really do happen for a reason.
What does this do for you? It changes your perspective. It gets you thinking about what good comes from a "bad" situation. I was having fun trying to figure out how to change that tire, and I avoided a cold wet hike. Then I came home and I wrote this article, which might even bring new traffic to my web site. In other words, I made a good thing out of a bad thing. That is what useful lies can do for you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Gillman has been exploring new ideas for decades. Visit his site for invention ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, and more. Get a free gift too: http://www.999ideas.com