A more difficult question?

This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.*

There was a sudden tingling in my toes. It felt as though something tremendous might be going to happen.**

The Duke of Hampshire has just asked Billy a question:

“But what about you, my lad? I am wondering if you happen to have just one extra special little wish all for yourself. If you do, I’d love you to tell me about it.”^

Billy didn’t substitute the question for something smaller and easier:

‘”There is an old wooden house near where I live,” I said. “It’s called The Grubber and long ago it used to be sweet-shop. I have wished and wished that one day somebody might come along and make it into a marvellous new sweet-shop all over again.”‘**

I’m loving reading books at almost sixty that I never got to read when I was a child. There’re such simple but special things to come upon.

Billy was to be the one who re-opened the sweet-shop, and I can’t help but think there’s something you want to see happen, and maybe you’re the one to do it.

Maybe you’ve just swapped the difficult question for an easier one.


(*From Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.)
(**The character Billy in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.)
(^The Duke of Hampshire in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.)

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