Generally, when the universe brings me the same story–either in a short period of time, or through different mediums, I think that’s usually a hallmark by which I need to share it with you, dear readers. Such as the case with the 4th cookie, which was repeated to me in print this weekend, and in randomly watching a commencement speech, of all things, on youtube.
Once upon a time, 2 California researchers started an experiment. They grabbed groups of 3 college students (same gender in each group – male and female) – and randomly assigned 1 of the 3 as group leader. Then, they gave the groups difficult moral challenges to solve. Thirty minutes in, they then produced a plate of cookies to the group. How many cookies, you ask, for that group of 3?
So, each person ate one – no brainer. But what happened to that 4th cookie? Astonishingly, the same thing–over and over–in each group, in each room, by both genders…
Every time, the arbitrarily assigned leader of the group grabbed that 4th cookie and ate it with reckless abandon. They ate it completely unashamed, unabashed, and smacked their gums when inhaling it.
What’s the moral of the story? Well, the first time I read the story said to AVOID GREED as a leader. Watch out for the inevitable greediness that comes with becoming a “leader;” corruption is inevitable. In the speech I heard, (when I heard the story again the second time), was–if you’re the leader, at least PRETEND like you don’t want the cookie. Don’t just grab it. And don’t assume that you deserve that cookie–because being a leader doesn’t mean being self-serving. You’re still human, and really the same as your peers, even if you have a different title.
So, what did I learn from this? That I’m kind of in trouble twice here–not only when I volunteer to step up as leader (which I happily do in many cases) I have to worry about that 4th cookie more than anyone–because 1. I’m not more entitled to the cookie, even though, 2. I love cookies–probably more than the average person–leader or not.
If all else fails? Here’s hoping the cookies are oatmeal instead of chocolate chip…