Once upon a time, waiting to start a class I noticed a guy outside trying to change his tire. The tire was slung under the truck and he had a rod which was supposed to be inserted into a socket and turned to lower the tire. It wasn’t working. He was standing there behind the truck with two friends trying to figure it out.

So I went out, crawled under the truck and started feeling around. That’s an important rule: if something doesn’t work it is almost impossible to figure it out without going on scene. The guy willing to crawl under the truck will solve more problems than the three guys trying to stay clean and dry and thinking about it.

So I poked around, ’cause I couldn’t see a damn thing and noticed that the rod he was trying to use was the exact same size as the socket. In other words, the socket end was on the rod and he had it turned backwards. Easy fix. I told him… and he said, “That can’t be right. The crank thingy is on this end.”

“Hey!” I said, “I’m right friggin’ here. That’s the wrong end. Turn it around.” He actually refused. It didn’t make sense, he said. I insisted and he pulled out the crank rod and pushed it in the exact same way. I don’t know if he was trying to be clever or if his denial was so deep that he thought if he kept doing the ‘sensible’ thing it would miraculously start working.

He finally listened and the tire was down in a few seconds. I went into the training area to get some coffee before class started.

It makes you think, doesn’t it? How many lives have been lost because the scouts reported what they saw and the commanding officers went with what they expected? How many hostage situations or EDP (Emotionally Disturbed Person) encounters have gone bad because the person went with the script instead of going with what was actually happening? This happens everywhere.

So we started joking about a new martial art, “The Way of the Guy Who is Actually There” based on the strange and novel idea of listening primarily to people who actually know what they are talking about.

Revolutionary, I know. I’m a rebel.

from Chirons blog