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I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

— Abraham Maslow


My previous post was entitled Rabbit Chase.  If you haven’t taken a look already, you really should hit the link; it’ll take only a minute, and it’s a good bet you’ll get a chuckle!  But don’t take my word for it; here’s Mike, reacting to the Rabbit Chase post:

High….larious! I’m laughing so hard I’m not sure if I can function any more today.

And Audrey —

I have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard!

Today, we chase the rabbit down the rabbit hole.  With Maslow’s hammer.

Audrey continued her comments with this astute observation:

I’m amazed no one put out carrots or leafy vegetables in a trap to lure out the rabbit!

Yep.  Curious, isn’t it?

Well, not so much really, when you think about it.

I mean; can you envision the CIA, the FBI, or the NYPD working with carrots and leafy vegetables?

Of course not.

Audrey goes on to comment:

Seems like they valued what they can do (and have done in the past) more than what they were going after…

Audrey!  You nailed it!  🙂

They each fell victim to the Law of the Instrument.  If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.  Pound away.

I think Mr. Maslow was being kind with his depiction of the dynamic as I suppose it is tempting…  I think, if we are true to experience — our own, and what we’ve seen — we’d have to say it’s pretty common.

This isn’t just a CIA, FBI, and NYPD problem.  Our belief systems and mental models dictate our methods.

And methods matter.

When we’re working with nails, hammers are impressively effective.

With rabbits, not so much.

So who won the competition?  The rabbit, of course.

The CIA, FBI, and NYPD are still looking for the nail.

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