The boiling frog principle

Supposedly, if a frog is put into very hot or boiling water, its first response is to try to escape by leaping out. Not surprising, really.

Again supposedly, if the frog is put into water at a comfortable temperature for the frog and then the temperature is slowly raised, the frog is less likely to notice the temperature change.

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As a result it is more likely to stay in the water and perhaps be cooked alive. The frog will die well before the water is boiled because the frog will reach a critical temperature and suffer enough damage to prevent major organs functioning.

At a physical level, this does not apply to humans and other warm-blooded animals. It can only work with animals that are not warm-blooded, such as reptiles and amphibians.

However, at an emotional level, this principle also applies to us humans. Because we are immersed in our culture and whatever is happening around us, we tend not to notice a lot of the change that is happening.

For example, you may not notice how tall your children grow over a year because it has been happening slowly and imperceptibly. When a relative or friend comes to visit they notice a big change since the last time they saw them a year before.

Something similar has been happening with
Sometimes we need to step outside a situation to get a different perspective to realize just how much things have changed.

Keeping track of gradual changes is easiest with a system or method such as: The key is to keep the records somewhere other than just in memory. This is because our memory is dynamic and has a habit of following the boiling frog principle.

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This page was updated on December 27, 2007