Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Hidden Assumptions That Guide Your Decisions

Imagine being a postman delivering a package in a city without street names. Seems impossible. Yet that’s how things work in Japan.

How does the Japanese postman deliver a package?

He goes down nameless streets to reach the block that contains the recipient’s house. In this case, block number 49.

From here it’s the usual business of finding the right house number. Except in Japan, the house numbers aren’t based on the order of left to right, but on the order in which they were built. 

The first house on a block is called 1, the second 2 and so on.

A perfectly sensible system. Just very different from our own.

Your reliance on street names is just one of many hidden assumptions that’s guiding your behaviour.

You probably wouldn’t ever consider chicken as your evening snack. But the lovely people from Turkey see it as a delicacy. It’s called Tavuk göğsü.

Giving your girlfriend a wooden spoon for Valentine’s Day probably sounds like a bad joke. Unless you’re Welsh. In which case you’d know that a wooden spoon shows that you’ll always provide for your loved one.

Is your Nicaraguan friend frantically making kissy faces at you? She may be flirting with you. But she could also be pointing at the chainsaw-wielding maniac running up behind you using her mouth.

People from Nicaragua don’t point using their fingers.

Lastly, this map probably looks wrong to you.

But it’s entirely accurate. After all, the Earth is a globe that doesn’t have an up, down or middle.

Never forget that the ideas you hold as true may have an equally true opposite.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach