People say the craziest things

I’ve been confounded and perturbed by some of the things I’ve heard people say over the years. Occasionally I have been left wondering why people make the choices they do.

People say the craziest thing by Nancy Knowlton

A number of years ago I was waiting in a departures lounge at LAX on my way to Mexico City for business. The lounge was filling up with passengers when the airline announced that we would be delayed. Then I heard a familiar voice, crystal clear and unmistakable – Don King, the boxing promoter, in the flesh and talking for all to hear on his cell phone.

A larger than life figure

He was talking about a match that he wanted to promote. He mentioned Roberto Durán’s name (even I knew Durán was famous for the no más declaration against Sugar Ray Leonard). I figured that if Don King wasn’t shy, I might as well move over as close as I could to get a really good earful of all that he had to say. Don King was larger than life at the time and it was interesting to listen in on what most people would consider to be a private conversation. My recollection is that he talked about everything in an open way when perhaps he should have been much more discreet.

Now Don King is a personality and part of being a promoter is having people interested in you and by extension, what you’re promoting. Being loud and flamboyant and having people overhear conversations are probably tried-and-true strategies, so this behavior was probably nothing new for him.

Rationalizing decisions

On a daily basis I am surprised by the things that ordinary people will say in an open environment. Recently I was in an elevator with a group of obvious coworkers who were talking about flu and cold season and how colleagues that they all knew had been sick through the holidays. One person asked the others if they had had their flu shots and two indicated that they hadn’t. One offered a weak excuse about just not finding the time. The other said that she just wasn’t sure about the value of a flu shot.

These were clearly well-educated people, yet here they were unconcerned about ignoring the directives of the medical authorities about getting a flu shot. For years my husband and I have been heeding these directives. We believe in the knowledge, perspective and motives of the medical authorities. We appreciate the education that they have and the shared knowledge of conditions and indicators from around the world.

Keeping healthy

We also feel that we have an obligation to keep ourselves healthy because of the frequent, close interactions that we have with our coworkers, family and friends. Getting and then passing along any form of bug just doesn’t seem to be something that a responsible person would do.

I appreciate that everyone has the right to make choices on so many aspects of life. I just don’t appreciate getting sick from those choices. I don’t understand people who won’t take the time – a small amount of time – to protect their own health and those of the people who work and live around them. To display their disregard for themselves and others to their colleagues in such a cavalier fashion was simply disrespectful, and I left the interchange in the elevator questioning the intelligence of the individuals. Crazy.

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Nancy Knowlton
Nancy Knowlton is co-founder and CEO of Nureva Inc. and previously the co-founder and CEO of SMART Technologies. She writes about education, entrepreneurship, business management, technology, innovation and other passions.