What's Your Story?

Biz Narrative Blog by Ruth Halpern

Observations and anecdotes about business narrative in the corporate world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When the facts defy our beliefs

This week, NPR aired the story of Brian Korbon, a 9 year old boy who, it appears, knew he was going to die shortly before he did. The story was recorded at a Storycorps booth, which is part of a national project to record people's stories about friends and family, nationwide.

In addition to being a powerful, loving tale of a vibrant boy and his parents' loss, I find myself pondering this statement: The father, Gregg Korbon, says, "It wasn't in my belief system that something like that could happen."

There he was, an anesthesiologist, watching his son gather his possessions, write goodbye notes to his friends, and announce that he "wasn't going to see double-digits" (meaning wasn't going to live till he was 10), but the father couldn't HEAR this.

The father's belief system did not allow for the possibility of losing his beloved child, never mind that the son might know that this was going to happen.

This story gives me shivers for so many reasons: The boy's foreknowledge, the mother and father being forced to accept the son's wisdom about his imminent departure, and most of all, the reminder that this story gives all of us: There are realities that all of us are unable to see because they don't fit into our belief systems.

How does this play out on an organizational level? What realities are invisible because they don't fit into our organizational vision of what is possible? Attainable? Real?

How vital it is that we listen, pay attention to the facts, try to see past the filter of our beliefs to what is possible--and real.

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