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Managers as Mentors, 3rd Edition by Marshall Goldsmith, Chip R. Bell

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Setting the Stage for the World of Enchantment

Psychologist Adam Smith in his book Powers of Mind uses a story as a clever metaphor to illustrate the way socialization encodes us to see (and not see) certain things as we mature.1 He quotes philosopher Aldous Huxley, who described our minds as a reducing valve, filtering out certain realities in order to prevent us from being overwhelmed with too much data.2 Smith’s story goes like this:

A small child turns to his mother and exclaims, “Look, mommy, it’s a purple cow!” His wise mother gently tells the child there is no such thing as a purple cow. On another sighting the child makes a similar excited report only to receive a similar rational correction. Soon the boy quits reporting purple cows and ...

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