Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Corporate Storytelling, Podcast
Mindset has an incredible impact on performance. Listen to hear how George Dantzig solved two famously unsolvable mathematics problems.
Later this week, we’re releasing some exciting new content—an article exploring the science of storytelling! We’ll discuss this topic in our next two episodes of Anecdotally Speaking, but as the paper won’t be available until Thursday, today we’re replaying one of our favourite past episodes!
In this episode, Mark shares a story about mindset. Shawn and Mark then share several other anecdotes that demonstrate how the expectation of an event can cause it to occur—the Pygmalion effect. Shawn mentions Rutger Bregman’s book, Humankind: A Hopeful History.
For your storybank
Tags: beliefs, bias, expectation, mindset, problem solving
This story starts at 01:03
In 1939, doctoral candidate George Dantzig was undertaking his first year of study at the University of Southern California in Berkley. One day, he arrived late to his graduate statistics class. The room was empty, but there were two maths problems on the board. Thinking they were homework, he wrote them down and left.
Over the next few days, he solved the problems. When he next saw his professor, Jerzy Neyman, he apologised for taking so long to complete the task. “They were difficult,” he explained, “Do you still want me to submit my solutions?” Jerzy said yes, and asked George to leave his work on his desk.
About six weeks later, at 8:00am on a Sunday, an urgent knocking on George’s front door woke him. It was Jerzy. He rushed in and excitedly announced, “Look, I’ve written the introduction for your first paper. Please read it so I can send it off for publication right away.” Jerzy explained that the two problems George had solved were two famous unsolvable mathematics problems.
Many years later, when being interviewed in 1986, George reflected on the event. It was the first time he had felt that there might be something special about him.
About Anecdote International
Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.