Boil the Frog

boil the frog

“Poor frog” is what I always think when I hear this expression.

The theory behind it is that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump out immediately, reacting to the heat. But if you put a frog into tepid water and then heat the water very gradually the frog won’t react to the increased temperature.

I don’t know who is boiling all all these frogs but the metaphor works; people will stay in unpleasant or unhealthy situations despite warning signs because they rationalise the warning signs or convince themselves that things will get better -somehow. It’s often used to remind you to take action when you sense things are not going well; as Henna Inam wrote in a Forbes article “Do something about it when something smells funny.  Even if it’s not on your job description, it’s your job.”

But scientists who study frogs (without boiling them I trust) say that it’s a myth.

So the science is off, but the metaphor works.

Image: Frog  | Nèg Foto  |   CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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