Boiling Pot

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Lessons Learned | 0 comments

Boiling Pot

Early in their marriage, Cindy and Bill had many discussions about how to cook. The first such discussion involved the process of boiling eggs. Cindy’s process involved putting eggs in a boiler, covering the eggs with water, putting it on the stovetop and turning on the gas burner. Once the water came to a rolling boil, she turned the burner off, put a lid on the pot, and let the eggs sit in hot water for 15 minutes. Then, it was important to replace the warm water with cold water and allow the eggs to cool.

Her technique for boiling eggs, which she had learned by trial and error, produced perfect eggs every time. But Bill had input that would surely help Cindy make better eggs, or so he thought. As she put the eggs in a pot, added water and put it on the stovetop, he suggested, “Put a lid on it, and it’ll boil faster.” He did have a degree in chemistry from Cornell, so maybe he knew something she didn’t know. It couldn’t hurt to try. She politely said, “Thank you” and put a lid on the pot.

The next time he observed her beginning to boil eggs, he advised, “Put a lid on it, and it’ll boil faster.” She said with much irritation, “Thank you” but she put a lid on the pot.

Then came the third time he observed her beginning to boil eggs. With irritation in his voice, he insisted, “I thought I told you that if you put a lid on it, it will boil faster.” Cindy replied with a smile, “But I’m in no hurry.”

Advice is just that, advice. It is a recommendation that is intended to be helpful. But the receiver is the one that determines if in fact the advice is helpful and whether or not to take the advice. Once the advice is given, it is best left to rest. Otherwise, it becomes a directive.

In the world of marriage, before advice becomes a directive it is best to “Put a lid on it” or “It will boil faster.”