There are a ton of homework assignments I have prepared for this blog. Some, I’ve already done. Others, I plan to, but haven’t yet. And then there are those like this one.
Inside of society, there are some things that are difficult just because they are accepted norms. Then, some things feel hard because they are based in biology. These are things that can make you feel extremely uncomfortable, even before you attempt them. I believe the following exercise to be one of these things.
We’ll discuss the assignment itself in a moment, but first, I wanted to point out a little of what these homework assignments are about.
I have always been a believer in doing things that are difficult. I do these things because they’re challenging, but also because they are like training for the mind. They help you prepare for important moments where you may flinch and do the wrong thing, the cowardly thing, by instinct.
When that time comes, I want you to look the right decision in the face, I want you to stare it down, and I want you to keep moving. I want this because I think that fundamentally, it will help you make better decisions, which will make you into a better person. And with a big enough group of better people, we have a better world.
To me, this quotes by Thomas Huxley really nails it.
“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.”
That is what all this is about. Making the right decisions, whether you like them (at the time) or not.
For this week’s homework assignment, I would like you to face the wrong way inside a crowded elevator.
Although there is nothing inherently complex about this assignment, I assure you that, for most, it will be among the most difficult things you do.
Society aligns itself in certain ways. Your body reacts certain ways to stimulus inside society to keep everyone in line, to keep everyone moving in the same direction, to make sure that everyone feels comfortable.
Facing in the right directions has deep implications for people’s sense of personal space and comfort. By performing this assignment you are going against all of those things. It isn’t going to be easy. But that’s ok. You should do it anyway.
For this exercise, find any elevator in a crowded place this weekend.
When the door opens, wait until everyone else has entered or exited. Be sure to be the last person to enter, and when you do, face in the opposite direction as everyone else.
I probably don’t need to describe the feeling to you. It’s likely that you know exactly how it will feel.
Good luck with your assignment. Report back in the comments when you are done.