A Lesson in Perception from Edward de Bono

In Australia a five year old boy is offered, by his companions, a choice between a one dollar coin and a two dollar coin. The two dollar coin is much smaller. The boy chooses the larger coin. His companions laugh and giggle at the apparent stupidity. They repeat the offer on various occasions. The boy always chooses the larger coin.

One day, an adult feels sorry for the ‘victim’ and tells him that the small coin is actually more valuable than the larger coin.

“Yes, I know that,” said the five year old, “but how often would they have offered me the choice if I had taken the smaller coin the first time?”

It is a matter of perception. If you see the offer as a ‘once off’ occasion it makes sense to take the more valuable coin. If you know your companions and see the possibility of multiple occasions, then the choice is different.