As part of our kitchen renovation, we needed to replace our dishwasher. I checked all the usual places (Home Depot, Costco, Trail Appliances, Leons, and The Brick) but couldn’t find the quality I wanted for the money I had left in my budget. One day I was on my way home and came across a local independent appliance store and decided to see what they could offer even though I was certain I wouldn’t risk buying anything from them. My belief, based on my past experiences and the experiences of others, is that local independent appliance stores are dodgy disreputable businesses that take advantage of unsuspecting innocent customers.
But they offered an affordable price on the model I wanted so I took the risk.
When I opened the door to load the dishwasher for the first time, I pulled out the top rack and it fell out of its rails nearly breaking the dishes below. So I called for service which was surprisingly prompt but the repairman came with the wrong piece to fix it so he would have to come back. After scheduling and rescheduling service for nearly three weeks, we finally set the date for the following Thursday morning.
On Thursday morning the repairman calls to remind me that he will be at my house in the afternoon. My first thought was “See, this is why you don’t buy from local independent appliance stores! You get what you pay for!”
But then I remind myself that I am embarking on the Liminal Thinking journey and recall Gray’s story web.
“When two or more learning loops interact, they form a system of belief or behaviour I call a story web; a shared world that is co-created by the people who participate in it. This shared world can seem as if it is just ‘the way it is’ but really it is just one of many possible realities.” (p.27, Liminal Thinking)
In this story web there are two learning loops interacting; mine and the repairman’s (for a reminder of the leaning loop, look at The Liminal Learning Loop). At this moment on the phone I have a choice between two possible learning loops; the doom loop or the delight loop.
Doom loop; repair dishwasher (need) – appliance store is trying to avoid my requests for service because they are dodgy (belief) – speak abruptly/harshly expressing my frustration to the repairman (action) – referred to the appliance store/dishwasher is not fixed (result).
Delight loop; repair dishwasher (need) – credible appliance store with integrity (belief) – ask questions to help them solve the scheduling snafu (action) – repairman offers to come later in the afternoon to accommodate my schedule/ dishwasher is fixed (result).
Keep in mind the repairman is going through his learning loop at the same time and based on my response can choose to experience a doom loop or delight loop. As we navigate the scheduling problem, we are co-creating our reality.
Two stories/realities are possible based on the beliefs and actions of both participants. The doom loop is easier because it reinforces my original belief that local appliance stores are dodgy. The delight loop is more difficult because it forces me to move beyond the reality I know instinctively (my beliefs) and co-create a reality I have no map to navigate.
“This is the power of the story web. Changing stories can change reality” (p.26 Liminal Thinking)
Thankfully we both chose the delight loop. It meant I had to end my appointment earlier than expected and he had to stay a bit later than he had expected but the dishwasher was fixed. Even more importantly, it demonstrated to me how we can co-create the reality we want and that ‘the way it is’ can be changed.
Liminal Thinking Principle 3: “Beliefs create a shared world. Beliefs are the psychological material we use to co-create, a shared world, so we can live, work and do things together. Changing a shared world requires changing its underlying beliefs” p.33, Liminal Thinking