The Teddy Bear Principle

In September 2020, I received an email. Somewhere in the middle was a story about how a university professor solved enquiries before he received them. By keeping a teddy bear outside his office. Attached to it was a sign, “Ask Teddy”.

Anyone that did enter the office, however, was asked, “What did Teddy say? What would Teddy do?” That solved many a problem.

Which reminds me of Doug Hamilton of Kembla Coal and Coke.

It happened three times, possibly more before I said something. Every few days the door of my office would open. And in would sidle Doug. Talking. I thought to me.

Now Doug was a system programmer. A brilliant one. Able to solve complex problems in a single bound. At the speed of light. So I thought.

Which meant I felt humbled by his attention. For Doug was talking to me. And seemingly needed my help. And me. I was just the apprentice system manager.

Maybe he needed my assembler expertise, I thought, as each time he set out his problem. Each time I would contribute. Or try to. Each time the same thing would happen.

He would finish speaking and leave. Problem solved.

What was going on? Twice this happened. And the third time. He was smiling and leaving yet again.

I stood up.

“Ummm…what just happened here?”

He smiled and chuckled.

“The Teddy Bear Theory,” he replied.

“You walk around carrying a teddy bear and you tell it all your troubles.”

I nodded. Okaay.

“Then you get the answer.”

I’d never carried a teddy bear. Even as a child. I never told it or anyone my problems. But I knew it already worked for me.

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