What’s Important Now?
This is the question we need to ask ourselves more frequently. It often takes a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or some other sort of tragedy to get us to realize “What’s Important Now”. In the wake of the hurricane, people are being helpful thoughtful and kind to one another. They realize what’s important now: safety shelter and food. Pending disasters serve as great reminders to us.
In 1973, two Princeton University researchers (Darley & Batson) performed a study known as the Good Samaritan study. Researchers asked two groups of 100 seminary students to each prepare a speech on the Good Samaritan and told them to then immediately go to the adjacent building to give their presentation to their audience.
Unbeknownst to the students, the researchers placed an actor right outside of the building they were going to. He was dressed in tattered clothes and they painted fake blood on him. The actor was instructed to groan in pain and cough when the students approached.
(The Good Samaritan is a biblical story about a man who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead roadside. Over the course of the day hundreds of citizens walked right past him and didn’t help. One man stopped he helped clean his wounds gave him a meal and a place to rest.)
On the day of the study the students in group one were each told,“You are late for your presentation. Hurry up and get over there.” Out of 100 only 10 stopped. The second group was told,“You need to leave now but are not late.” Out of these 100 students, 66 stopped and helped.
The results of this study are staggering, these were not random people selected. Clearly they all were aware of the story of the good Samaritan but for a majority of them they were in too big a hurry and the principle of doing good was no longer top of mind. What’s more important? Giving a speech or helping someone who for all you know could be laying there dying?
More than we need some great new earth-shattering idea, we need great reminders of what we already know (W.I.N.) but isn’t kept top of mind. Think of it like advertising. Why does McDonalds sell billions of hamburgers? They advertise to us in multiple ways every day so when the time comes that we are hungry they are top of mind. How are you advertising what’s important now to yourself?
There are things all around us every day that are too important for us to not to stop and take time. Like the students in the experiment, often we think we are so busy that we walk right past people who need our help. This week there will be millions of people who need help.
Remember What’s Important Now and don’t walk by in a hurry. Big picture: in business too many people are stepping over others in an attempt to get ahead. Ultimately it does not serve them well in the long term. Winners help other people win!