I’m more of a visual learner than a ‘have to have the instruction guide’ type of person. I also tend to study even the most mundane routines, which I’ve found have much to offer in the way of learning about others. I’m not sure what that says about my level of awareness other than it’s always been fairly acute.
I’ve had occasion recently to use an elevator often to access a temporary office location. What I’ve noticed is that if I’m the only passenger, I’ll stand right in front of the numbers panel from the time I enter until the time I reach the office floor. What I’ve observed about others is that, when they enter, they’ll approach the front corner to confirm the floor number, push that button, go immediately to the back of the elevator, and stand silently, staring at the floor numbers above the door. I’ve noticed that this happens without fail regardless of who uses the elevator.
I’ve also noticed that I’ll do the same thing. I know that if I don’t push the button (or have someone push it for me) nothing happens. I’ve concluded however, that the rest of it– the moving to the back, standing silently and most of all, staring at the numbers, is a cultural tradition with elevators that happens regardless of gender, ethnicity, or otherwise.
Why does that so intrigue me? Because, too often, we go through many of these same kinds of motions and routines in many different environments. We have little awareness or understanding of what’s really going on and we settle for the cultural tradition. Then, when the environment or the tradition changes, we’re stuck staring at the numbers as they go by, just waiting for someone else to push the button.
I’ve adjusted now to where (if I can) I’ll always stand in front of the numbers panel because I want to be able to push a different button if I have to, especially if there are others in there with me just staring at the numbers.
Where do you stand, regardless?