Saturday Special – The Famous Boiling Frog Syndrome

Management consultants call it the ‘boiled frog syndrome’. As the story goes, if you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately try to jump out. But, if you place the frog in a pot of room-temperature water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog won’t do anything at all. It may even appear to be enjoying itself, oblivious of the impending danger. As the temperature climbs, however, the frog gets sleepy and eventually cannot hop out of the pot until it boils to death.

What killed the frog? Think about it!

I know many of us will say the boiling water. But the truth about what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when to jump out. We all need to adjust with people & situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust & when we need to move on. There are times when we need to face the situation and take appropriate actions. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually or mentally they will continue to do so.

Let us decide when to jump! Let’s jump while we still have the strength.

The boiling frog story is generally offered as a metaphor cautioning people to be aware of even gradual change lest they suffer eventual undesirable consequences. It is also used in business to reinforce that change needs to be gradual to be accepted. Oppositely, the expression ‘boiling frog syndrome’ is sometimes used as shorthand to invoke the pitfalls of standing pat.

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