The Cookie Thief: A Short Story

I was looking for a TEDTalk speech I could use for one of my class and I came across one titled “The Psychology of Motivation.” The speaker talked about the key points to motivate not just others but also ourselves. He talked about empowerment, training, consequences, choice, communication and being dependent or independent. Then, he shared this story to illustrate how everything is based on paradigm-on how it all is depends on how you see it and how you see yourself, on communication, on how we communicate to others and how we communicate to ourself. The story goes as follows

A woman was waiting at an airport one night with several (long) hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shop, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop. She was engrossed in her book but happened to see that the man beside her as bold as could be took a cookie or two from the bag between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene. She read, munched cookies and watched the clock as this gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I’d blacken his eye.” With each cookie she took, he took one too. When only one was left she wondered what he’d do. With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and he broke it in half. He offered her a half as he ate the other. She snatched it from him and thought, ‘”Oh, brother. This guy has some nerve, and he’s also rude. He didn’t even show any gratitude.” She had never known when she had been so galled and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate. She boarded the plan and sank in her seat . Then, she sought her book which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise. There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes. “If mine are here” she moaned in despair, “then the others were his and he tried to share.” “Too late to apologize. She realized with grief-that she was the rude one, the ingrate and the thief.

Then, the speaker asked, “So where were you? Whose side were you on? Were you thinking independent? or interdependent ? I don’t care whether you think independent. That’s how we were raise. Nice guys finish last. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Gotta blow your own horn etc.

I just find the story funny and relatable. While listening to it, I put myself in the situation and see how I would most likely be so annoyed, which I have been a lot of times (similar situations). I also felt the embarrassment being angry and actually it was me who was in the wrong . This brought me back to the moment when I accused someone only to realize it was also my fault. Huuh. It surely embarrassing a situation to be in, but the good thing is I was able to apologize.

—marymancee ✨|| Collections: Some Random Thoughts ||The psychology of self-motivation by Scott Geller at TEDxVirginiaTech || April 26, 2023


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