Continuing yesterday’s theme of what our infrastructure has in common, it reminded me of an icebreaker a student did in the teams class I am teaching.

She timed groups of students for five minutes and asked them to make a list of all they had in common.  They came up with some very creative things, but failed to list most of the obvious traits:  they were all human, all had 2 hands, 2 eyes, 2 feet; all were able to see, everyone could speak English, all had hair, all were wearing clothes, all were from the U.S., etc.  If they just listed in-common body parts it would have easily taken the allotted time.

Most groups also focused on tangible things, and neglected to list the intangibles that they had in common: they were happy, tired, sad, friendly, honest, loyal, kind, etc.  This, too, could have generated another long list.

This exercise is a good introduction to a group who is prone to overlooking the obvious or who needs to see things from a different perspective.  Sometimes things seem harder than they really are because we fail to see what is right in front of us.  Things that are pervasive tend to fade into the background and become invisible.

Whether it is the lowly 2×4 or the fact your fellow travelers are all wearing shoes, focus today on things that you otherwise would not see and challenge yourself to make new connections out of the commonalities.

— beth triplett

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