Jan 10, 2018

Life Lesson from a Grocery List

I sent my husband to the grocery story on his way home from work last night. He drives right by so it’s convenient to have him pick up a few necessities between my large stock-up-all-the-things trips.

He walked in the door last night, hands me the bags and I set them on the counter. As I begin putting stuff away I already recognize a few things that are “wrong”. He bought a package of fresh mushrooms. I wanted mushrooms in a can or jar for the pantry. He bought organic spinach. I wanted conventional. He bought a package of individually wrapped processed Swiss cheese product slices. I wanted real Swiss cheese from the deli. He bought whole chocolate milk. I wanted 2%.

I can go on.


I could have been mad that he bought the “wrong” things. But was he “wrong”?


Take a look at the list I sent him:





Based on my list, he bought exactly what I had asked for.


I provided zero details. My list lacked brands, sizes and flavors.


You see, I assumed and expected he would know the exact brand and package I wanted. But, how would he know?

Last night, I watched the new episode of This Is Us. Kevin, one of the triplets, now 35 years old, was checked into rehab for an alcohol addiction. The family was brought in to dig really deep into the triggers of his addiction. He shared a perception of his childhood, his siblings Kate and Randall shared theirs and his mother Rebecca took a turn; each having a different view on how things were growing up in their household.

The family argued and the conversation turned into several walking out of the room in frustration.

Towards the end of the episode, after everyone has cooled off, Randall shares an excerpt of his childhood from when he first had to get glasses; looking through the various lenses of the device that would then help determine his prescription. Some of the lenses were blurry, some clear.

He makes a point that we all view life through different lenses.

We can’t expect everyone to view through our lens when they are looking through their very own, unique “prescription.”

Details are so important. Whether we are describing a process from an industry outside of someone’s familiarity, such as agriculture or sending our husbands or wives to the store to pick up something for us, we have to communicate in a detailed language that people understand.


Things are no longer black and white anymore.


We live in a world of variety and choice. Our world is full of information.


When it comes to choices and expectations, we only know what we know through our own lens.


So, the next time you make out your grocery list, provide details.


Or you’ll end up with organic spinach and processed Swiss cheese product.

1 comment:

  1. The "eye chart" analogy was the favorite part of the show for me, too. Maybe it's because I vividly remember getting glasses for the first time and seeing life so much differently. It's a good reminder that we are always looking through our own lens of experience.

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