At the midpoint of the academic quarter, we find these words written on the blackboard:
“This is your midterm exam. You have 30 minutes to write. Your answers will determine whether you remain in this advanced seminar.”
He looks at the six of us, all sitting there with our open blue books, dutifully ready to write for 30 minutes, and he hands us a paragraph that reads:
A self-actualized man arrives at a dinner party in which everyone is dressed in rather formal attire. Evening dresses and suits and ties are worn by everyone. He is wearing a pair of dungarees, tennis shoes, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap. What does he do?
Dr. Redl looks at us, tells us that he will return in 30 minutes, and leaves the room abruptly.
The six of us cast curious glances at each other, and with puzzled looks on our faces begin to write. After precisely 30 minutes, our professor returns to the room and asks each person to read aloud what they’ve written. We all say pretty much the same thing, trying to sound scholarly and regurgitate back what we learned about this idea of self-actualization: He wouldn’t bring it up, he wouldn’t explain himself, he’d simply act as if nothing were bothering him. He would engage in conversation and be himself even though he wasn’t dressed the same as everyone else. He wouldn’t judge the situation or feel uncomfortable about it because he never judges others or himself by appearances. He wouldn’t be bothered by the fact that he stood out, he wouldn’t apologize or excuse himself. All of our blue books pretty much convey these kinds of responses to the midterm question. After Dr. Redl has listened to each of us, he picks up his briefcase and slams it down on the seminar table in feigned indignation and outrage at our answers. “You have all failed this course. You haven’t yet learned a thing. All you had to do was to write three words on your paper.” He takes his chalk in his hand, turns around to the blackboard, and writes in large letters: HE WOULDN’T NOTICE. He then leaves the room for five minutes while we sit there smiling sheepishly and staring at each other.
source: Wayne Dyer – I Can See Clearly Now