Day 286: Duck Test

According to Wikipedia,

The duck test is a humorous term for a form of inductive reasoning. This is its usual expression:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

This morning, I was remembering somebody quoting the Duck Test, many moons ago.

It was a facilitator at a two-day Opening the Heart  workshop, which  was attended by around 70 people. (That’s a large group, people.)

He was describing, to us all,  the final exercise of the weekend.

I remember that guy.  He was a gentle-looking fellow, with a beard.

Because I struggle with detailed visual memory, I’ll turn to my old standby, Google Images, for some help in describing him.

This is the first person that came up, for “gentle looking fellow with a beard”:

Image*

Really.

Anyway, the facilitator at the workshop (who actually DID look a little like that guy, above),  explained how the exercise would work.  He told us that we would form two large circles, half of the people on the outside and half the people on the inside.

Like this:

Image**

 

As the circles of people moved, stopped, moved and stopped again, we gave and received authentic feedback with each other.

I remember the facilitator making these two important points, regarding the feedback we would hear:

  1. What other people say to you, about you, usually has to do with THEM.
  2. However, if you hear the same things over and over again, that’s probably about YOU.

And that’s when he quoted the Duck Test.

I remember, having this thought, in response: ‘He’s gently and effectively giving guidance about how to hear negative feedback.”

What I didn’t consider, back then:  His guidance applied to positive feedback, too.

As I’ve confessed before, I (like many other people I’ve met) can struggle with believing positive feedback, no matter how many times I hear it.

I could expound, at this point, about the first Cognitive Distortion on this list:

  1. Negative filtering (also known as “Disqualifying the positive”).
    This is when we focus on the negative, and filter out all positive aspects of a situation.  For example, you get a good review at work with one critical comment, and the criticism becomes the focus, with the positive feedback fading or forgotten. You dismiss positives by explaining them away — for example, responding to a compliment with the thought, “They were just being nice.”

 

However, I’d rather end by returning to the duck test:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

I’d rather end that way, especially since my reply to this (old standby) question

“If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?”***

is this:

Image

Really.

Thanks to Opening the Heart,  ducks everywhere,  people who wear unusual hats,  givers and receivers of feedback, and to you, too, for reading today.


* From Reddit: Here’s me wearing a rejected kitty hat.

** From Google Images, again.

*** From Saturday Night Live: Father Guido Sarducci

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Day 286: Duck Test

  1. Excellent post. It’s really quite ducky!

  2. Pingback: Day 296: The other side of containment | The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally

  3. Pingback: Day 775: Awkward | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  4. Pingback: Day 1141: What do I look and sound like when …? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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