Saturday, February 24, 2007

Coaching: Logic & Truth


In coaching, we use logic and truth to help our clients to discover their blind-spots. Some of our participants in our Coach Training Programs find it difficult to comprehend. Here is an interesting example of logic and truth.

I found an inspiring story both from the web and books:







這時,只聽見女士轉向她丈夫說:只要750萬就可以建一座大樓,那我們為甚麼不建一座大學了紀念我們的兒子? 就這樣,這對夫婦離開了哈佛,到了加州,成立了一所大學來紀念他們的兒子,這所大學就是後來全球知名的史丹福大學。

This is a very inspiring story, but there are something really wrong with this story!

Here is our analysis:

1. Standford University was found by Mr & Mrs Leland Standford in 1891. Mr Standford was the former Governor of California. President of Harvard was quite impossible not to recognize him, because Mr Standford was already famous and rich.

2. The Standfords did lost their son. He was died of typhoid fever, but not due to accident. His son died when he was 2 months before his 16th birthday. It was too young for him to attend the Harvard, and in fact, he had never studied in Harvard.

3. The Standfords built Standford University because they decided "The children of California shall be our children." after the death of their young son. They want to provide good university education to the young people in California. At that time, all good universities were not in the West Coast (California is in the West Coast). They did not build the Standford University for their son, but for all the young people in California.

4. They did visited the president of Harvard before they built Standford. But not to request for a building named after their son. They consulted President Eliot of Harvard for opinion. They had 3 ideas: a university, a large institution in San Francisco combining a lecture hall and a museum, and a technical school. Eliot answered, a university. Mrs. Stanford inquired how much the endowment should be, in addition to land and buildings, and he replied, not less than $5 million. A silence followed. Finally, Mr. Stanford said with a smile, "Well, Jane, we could manage that, couldn't we?" and a grave Mrs. Stanford nodded her assent.

** The above 4 points are about Truth. A Truth must be supported by Evidences. You can find the evidence in the any book about the History of Standford University.

5. It was in the end of 19th Century when Standford was built. At that time, 7.5 Millions was a great, great, great amount of money. It is estimated that 7.5 Millions in 1891 is equivalent to $171,428,571.43 today! That amount can build a lot of university buildings. So, it is not logical. (Remember in the real Standford history, it only took them 5 Millions to build the whole university!)

6. At that time (and even nowadays), presidents of Harvard University were very well-educated scholars of great manner. They would not so rude in treating people. It is again not logical.

** Point 5 & 6 are about Logic. If you had already learned the 3+1 Points for Valid Causes from our Career Coaching Program, you will understand that both Point 5 & 6 are of Valid Causes.

When we get used to Logic and Truth Analysis, it becomes more difficult to mislead us.


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