Boiling Frog Syndrome…

Boiling Frog Syndrome….
Decades ago,when I was in the primary school,I recall having read and recited a delightful poem on frogs.It was titled : Twenty Froggies.It went something like this :
Twenty Froggies -BY GEORGE COOPER

Twenty froggies went to school
Down beside a rushy pool
Twenty little coats of green,
Twenty vests all white and clean.

“We must be in time,” said they,
“First we study, then we play”
That is how we keep the rule,
When we froggies go to school.”

Master Bull-frog, brave and stern,
Called his classes in their turn,
Taught them how to nobly strive,
Also how to leap and dive.

Taught them how to dodge a blow,
From the sticks that bad boys throw.
Twenty froggies grew up fast
Bull-frogs they became at last.

Polished in a high degree,
As each froggie ought to be.
Now they sit on other logs,
Teaching other little frogs.
Later on, while still in the primary school, I had read the story of the Frog Prince.Thereafter, in the secondary school,I had seen the dissection of a frog in our school’s biology lab.Poor creature !!
I had thought then that perhaps I would not have any further association with this creature in my future career.However,I was wrong.
When I did my PGDBM way back in 1979 I had studied something about change in life which is a constant feature.We were told to learn to adapt ourselves to such changes.Again I had mistakenly thought that it was the end of the Frog chapter of my life,but no,it again re-surfaced in my life after my retirement in 2009 when I took up a few teaching assignments in a few Management institutions.Here then is the story …..
While discussing the subject of resistance to change etc in one of my MBA classes, I came across the common story of the boiling frog.It is called the boiling frog syndrome. I did a little research on it and here are a few pointers to this topic :

1. From Wikipedia
The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frogslowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.
The story is often used as a metaphorfor the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. 
According to contemporary biologists the premise of the story is not literally true; an actual frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out. However, a variety of 19th century research experiments suggested that the underlying premise is true, provided the heating is gradual enough.
2.The Boiling Frog Syndrome by- Steven Yates
Quote : My father drew my attention to Ric Edelman’s financial planning website,which has a wealth of information and strategies on the subject.While exploring the site I ran across what Edelman called the Boiling Frog Syndrome.
He introduced the idea to explain how the American public has come to accept a certain amount of inflation as normal, despite the ease of producing sound arguments that inflation works against our best efforts to plan and build wealth over the long term.
Here is Edelman’s account of the Boiling Frog Syndrome: “If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out. But if you place a frog into a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, it will boil to death. And so it is with inflation. We’ve grown accustomed to inflation over the past 25 years,but that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to be hurt by its effect.” Unquote.
3.Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will

How Jack Welch Is Turning GE Into The World’s Most Competitive Corporation-by Noel M. Tichy and Stratford Sherman : p.88) :Welch was trying to avoid the boiled frog syndrome. If you put a frog in a pan of cool water and gradually turn up the heat, the frog will just stay put until it dies. But if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will jump right out– and survive.Quote :Some people say I’m afraid to compete. I think one of the jobs of a business person is to get away from slugfests and into niches where you can prevail. The fundamental goal is to get rid of weakness, to find a sheltered womb where no one can hurt you. There’s no virtue in looking for a fight . If you’re in a fight, your job is to win. But if you can’t win,you’ve got to find a way out. Unquote.
4.THE BOILING FROG -by Daniel Quinn :
Excerpt from the book, “The Story of B” :Systems thinkers have given us a useful metaphor for a certain kind of human behavior in the phenomenon of the boiled frog. The phenomenon is this. If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber Out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly.As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face,it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death. We all know stories of frogs being tossed into boiling water — for example, a young couple being plunged into catastrophic debt by an unforeseen medical emergency. A contrary example, an example of the smiling boiled frog, is that of a young couple who gradually use their good credit to buy and borrow themselves into catastrophic debt. 

And with this,I end my tryst with the frogs,till my next birth ,hopefully, not as a FROG in a village well !!  Croak ! Croak !!

Well, before I sign off,here is a favourite frog situation of mine : Two frogs fell into a bowl of cream. One didn’t panic, he relaxed and drowned. The other kicked and struggled so much that the cream turned to butter and he walked out !

And last, but not the least, let us not be like the frog in a well :”We think too small,like the frog at the bottom of the well,who thinks that the sky is only as big as the top of the well.If he surfaced,he would have an entirely different view.” (Mao Tse Tung)

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15 Responses to Boiling Frog Syndrome…

  1. Shernaz says:

    Very interesting, specially because I hadn’t heard about this syndrome before. Can be applied to all fields of life I feel. Thanks for your good reads.

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  6. At first I was kind of sceptically but little did I know that by the end of reading this entry I will shift my perspective 180 degrees.

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  12. J S BROCA says:

    Dear Readers,
    This piece with minor changes was posted on YOUR SPACE of MUSE iNDIA.Here are some comments :

    Dear Rao ji and dear Shernaz…thanks a lot for your valuable feedback and comments.All the best.
    J S BROCA, New Delhi
    June 29, 2012

    Humorously interesting and informative as always. Thanks for sharing. Warm regards
    Shernaz, Pune
    June 29, 2012

    Safiyyah ji, many thanks for patiently reading my posting and responding.GBU.
    J S BROCA, New Delhi
    June 28, 2012

    Enormously interesting and educative, with inflation-like humour!
    GSP Rao, Hyderabad
    June 28, 2012

    With your trademark, Interesting, hilarious, amusing, yet filled with great lessons. Thanks for sharing. Warm regards.
    Safiyyah, UK
    Jun 27, 2012

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