True Story: Moving Boulders

True Story: Moving Boulders

by elainesuess

Yes, it’s true. The boulders have moved!

Okay. They’ve actually been moving for years, but we just haven’t been able to figure out why. And the “we” here doesn’t mean the royal we which equals “I”, but the broad we meaning other people besides me who happen to be scientists.

Before last week, I hadn’t  even heard about these boulders and the plight of the scientists, but I was fascinated to hear about them (my top character strength after all, is Curiosity) all the same.

The Death Valley

The story goes that these huge boulders in the middle of the desert, some weighing up to 600 lbs., have been moving inches and feet for years, and no one can figure out how it happens. Kind of like the Easter Island heads, but different.

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Recently, and at long last, the mystery was solved.

The Belief

NPR interviewed several people about the story including Paula Messina who had written her PhD on the phenomenon. Her theory was that “freak wind storms” were actually the cause of the movement.

She said even though she had seen the new data and pictures, she “still couldn’t believe it.”

The Story

How often do our beliefs keep us from knowing/seeing what’s right in front of us? Despite the evidence,  we see things or people through the lenses we’ve manufactured for ourselves. Perhaps there are stories we keep telling ourselves about certain people, the same people, one person…and the narrow view keeps us from performing at our best/being our best at work (narrowing vs. expanding – negatively impacts creativity, innovation, big picture thinking, decision making, focus, and flourishing).  

The Challenge

Next time you find yourself doubting someone or their intentions, challenge the story you’re telling yourself about them and/or the situation. It may just be about seeing and believing the “evidence,” or not.

This is an easy exercise, but it calls for us to be intentional. Simply start by asking yourself questions about your story:  What else might they have intended, What is my part in this, How might our different communication styles be impacting this, What do I most appreciate about this person, Where are we similar…

The Magic

By being intentional and using questions to move beyond the usual stories, we can discover the truth in the situation and the person, and much more!

Paula Messina, scientist with a theory that was not true, believed the evidence at last. But we don’t need to wait for the data and the pictures.


We usually already have the information we need if we’re courageous enough to seek it out.



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