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  • Writer's pictureSonja Kirschner

Two Mortars and a Question

So we’ve got two mortars now. After seven years not really needing one we’ve got two now. Here is the story.

My husband and I have always liked cooking and as so many others we’ve tried to up our game during the pandemic. A couple of times last year I asked him: ”Where is our mortar? I know we have one.” Instead of going through the higher cupboards of our small kitchen I started reasoning with myself: “We were meant to be here for three years on my delegation with a big multinational. When we left Germany we knew that we would be eating out more in NYC and cooking less. We must have left our mortar in the storage.” But now we needed one. So we took a trip to a kitchen store and bought a mortar for six bucks. No problem. On the way home, my husband said to me: “I’m sure, once we unpack that thing we’ll find the other one.” Not even 48 hours later I needed something from one of those higher kitchen cupboards and sure enough, there was the identical twin - pretty much unused and of innocent beauty.

So what had happened? I have a master’s degree in behavioral science, a certificate in executive education and one in behavioral training / coaching. I earn money by changing behavior. BUT instead of taking the easy way myself (i.e. stepping on a stool and looking for the thing) I reasoned with myself and laid out the case why we probably left the mortar at home. Instead of ‘just’ doing it I did what I’m pretty good at: I thought, then I thought some more, I built a story in my head following my learned beliefs about us and I came to a conclusion that made total sense … but was wrong.

Long story short: There is nothing more complex than people. Overcoming learned beliefs is tough. Just doing stuff, too. If we want to change something we need ask questions and question ourselves. And that’s not easy nor simple.

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