I had just arrived in Japan four weeks earlier from India and was on the first day of a new lucrative job–teaching English to IBM employees. Having arrived in Japan poor with only a few Rupees, I was ecstatic to have found this job because I would soon be able to afford to buy sushi and sake and truly enjoy Japan. For up to then, I had been living on old bread and mustard (karashi).
IBM had hired about 15 teachers like me to teach various levels of English to their engineers. All of us teachers were in the “faculty room” prior to our first class chatting, but off in the corner of the room, by himself, I noticed an older teacher (probably 45 years-old) who had a unique air about him — most of us teachers were in our twenties. I quietly asked another teacher who that man was and was told, “Ah, he is a weird guy, he says he can tell when people look at him even with his back is turned. It seems he thinks he has magical powers. I wouldn’t bother with him.”
“Hmm,” I thought, “up to now, conversations with everyone else here have been pretty routine, maybe that guy will add a little excitement into my day.” So I went over and introduced myself.
His name was Dave McClean and indeed he delightfully was a bit eccentric. He had been a engineer but 12 years ago, after making a lot of money on a simple lamp design, he sold his house and belongings and headed off to Asia to study meditation. A year ago, when his money ran out, he came to Japan to replenish his money supply. He said that in addition to studying meditation in India he studied acupuncture.
But just as our interesting conversation was beginning, an announcement was made that our classes would be starting in about five minutes. Dave was very different, just like the others had warned — and I was pleased. I told Dave that I knew nothing about acupuncture and asked if he could teach me something about it. He agreed and said I could come over to his place in a week. So we exchanged addresses.
My post called, “My Magical Introduction to Acupuncture” continues this story. But I wanted to set the stage because I think this story illustrates an important aspect of my personality: I like to explore odd, strange and unusual things. I love change. These are temperament settings of mine that feed my decision styles, prime my cognitive biases and affect the experiences I have had in life.
Sometimes, before examining WHAT we think it is perhaps more instructive to examine HOW we think. I hope this post helps with that. Temperament deeply influences both how and what we “know”.