I recently put up a post on Facebook that read;
I will give 20 pin talk time to whoever is first to get this question right; you are at the mercy of a killer. He tells you that you have no way out except for one: he folds two papers in half, each with the words ‘you will die’ written on them. He labels them A and B. He asks you to pick the paper with the words saying ‘you will live.’ It’s a trick. He knows this but you don’t. You actually think that one of the papers will save you. You have no choice but to pick one. And you must choose to live. And the truth is that you lived. How did this happen?
I promised to post the answer on my blog so here we go!
I must say I had a lot of fun reading all the responses. The truth is that I came across this trick question when I was watching one of my all-time favourite Korean dramas. When the heroine asked the hero (or should I just say the two leads in the drama?) this question, at first, just like the hero – I had no idea what the correct response should have been.
It was only later in another scene that the hero got an epiphany whilst he was eating something from a plate …when the answer occurred to him. At that moment I thought to myself, “Oh wow…didn’t even cross my mind!”
However, out of everything that was said, I found that I loved the lesson of the trick question more than the trick itself. It was one of those moments that led me straight into reflection. So I thought it would be great to share this with my friends and let’s see how they work around it!
Suffice to say, many tried to tackle the question and some did give very good possible answers, except, I was looking for the best answer that would explain how it came about that the person in question was still able to live despite having picked one of the papers that said he would die. Despite increasing the reward prize, it seemed they all just wanted me to keep my money. I like that. 🙂
As I keep writing, I am sure that the answer will slowly be forming itself in your heads…of course I am assuming that not everyone who is reading this has watched the drama I am referring to where this question came from. If anything, I would give the little prize money to the person who could tell me the title of that drama! Now that would be fun, wouldn’t it?
Now picture this;
In the drama, the answer came to the hero/protagonist/lead while he was eating something from a plate. As he kept picking a piece off his plate, he looked at what was remaining on the plate and suddenly stopped! The answer had occurred to him.
And this is the answer:
If the victim (I will call him/her that for lack of a better term) was expected to pick the note that said, ‘you will live’ when in fact we know that both notes said he would die, how is it possible he was able to live? It is because the note that was meant to decide his fate …and in this case it is the note that had remained, the one that was not picked read – you will die. Therefore, if the note that was not picked said he would die, doesn’t it automatically mean that the note he had picked said ‘he will live’? Remember, he was asked to choose the choice to live. Irrespective of what was written on the note he picked, the note that was meant to decide his fate – the note that had remained to be read out by the killer said he would die which meant by default that the victim had picked one that said he would live. And this is how he survived!
I hope it’s all clear. I know it might be a little confusing for some but keep going over it and it will soon make sense. And to borrow the words of the actor, “to every trick question, there is a trick response.”
Like I said before, I found the lesson behind the trick question even more interesting. Here’s why:
Whenever life is difficult, we always think that there is no way out….just like everyone who didn’t know the answer to the question. But I am here to tell you that that’s not the answer. There is hope no matter how difficult the situation you are in might seem, whether you have a small trouble or a variety of troubles…always choose the best choice to live.
Those were the ‘not so exact’ words of the actress in the drama. Of course it helped that she was a psychiatrist. But I believed every word of it.
There was a time when my family had it all and then there was also a time we had absolutely nothing except each other. I remember thinking at that time…. “Is this all there is to life?”
But that is all in the past now; a past I feel was very important because it has shaped me into who I am today. I am now grateful for everything I have in my life because I know exactly what if feels like to not have anything in your life. Back then we did everything humanly possible to survive…to make sure we were still alive the next day. Instead of wallowing in misery, we chose to live.
And I will continue choosing to live because…even as clique as it sounds, it is the truth; what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!