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Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

When my husband and I first looked at the house that would eventually become our family’s home, I yelped with excitement when I discovered that the kitchen had a refrigerator with one of those water and ice dispenser thingys on the door. All my life I’ve wanted one of those kind of refrigerators, where you can just walk up with your cup and Wala! It just seems so glamorous… especially ones that let you choose between ice cubes and crushed ice? Forget about it! I’ve spent the better part of my adult years in apartments—most notably New York City apartments, where having a full size refrigerator is itself a luxury, so forget about any extras like ice dispensers.

Anyway, visions of me and my crushed ice were quickly dashed when we were informed that the door dispenser no longer worked, and to fix it would likely cost as much as just buying a new refrigerator. We’ve done neither, so for two years now I’ve had to get my water from the sink and then open the freezer door and reach in to get the ice… exhausting, truly.

Because visitors to our house also kept trying to use the ill-fated door dispenser, I started hanging pictures over the buttons to try and detract them. Instead, people just tried to move the pictures to get to the buttons. So to help make it even more obvious, I now have almost the entire thing covered by my kids’ art, and yet people still try to find their way in. My clues are apparently not enough to dampen people’s determination to get their instant ice and water.

The funny thing is, usually the amount of time it takes them to try and work around the art and pictures, coupled with the amount of time it takes me to explain that it is broken which is why the pictures are there in the first place, thank you very much, is much more than the amount of time it would have taken them to just do it the old fashioned way.

Sometimes our determination to do a thing the easy way, the newest way, the most technological way, clouds our ability to see the actual best way. It’s like the episode of “The Office” where Michael drives his car into a lake because it appears that is what his GPS is telling him to do. Or the time I nearly walked into the automatic door because I didn’t notice that it wasn’t actually working. Or the times I’ve lost the remote control and walked around cursing my inability to watch TV… forgetting that I could simply walk to the TV and push the power button. Our modern conveniences are so convenient that they lull us into a sleep of sorts, and we forget, as Dr. Seuss said, that: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

So, the next time you find yourself lured by the promise of icy cold water and perfectly crushed ice, remember to stop and pay attention to the clues along the way that will help you achieve your actual goal: a nice refreshing glass of water.

Are you sleeping, or are you steering in the direction you choose?


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.