Pick a Number

Apr 5, 2008

2 15 18 9 6 4.

Pick a number.

Now, how many of you picked 18? How many picked 6?

And how many of you picked 7? Or 951? Or 3000?

Why not? I didn’t say you had to pick a number that I wrote down. Yet most people assume that.

People tend to make assumptions. More specifically, people tend to make assumptions based on what they’ve seen in the past, and what they know. A list of numbers preceded the request, so an assumption is made that you were supposed to pick a number from the list.

But sometimes, these assumptions can limit your choices. You may have more opportunities than you think you have, if you get past the initial assumption.

What assumptions do you make that limit your opportunities? And how do you get past them?

Disclosure: As much as I wish I did, I didn’t think of the “pick a number” example myself. Saw it on Numb3rs, and thought it was a great lesson, so I thought I’d share it here. And admittedly, it works better in person, and not as well on a blog post, but I hope it got the point across well enough.