The Dangers of High Expectations


In the 1930’s, Churchill taught a lecture course at Cambridge on human sociology. One afternoon standing at the lectern and, always prone to the dramatic, he turned to the large class and demanded: “What part of the human body expands to 12 times its normal size when subjected to external stimulation?

The class gasped. Churchill, obviously relishing the moment, pointed at a young woman in the tenth row. “What’s the answer?” he demanded. The woman flushed and replied, “Well, obviously it’s the male sexual organ.”

“Wrong!” said Churchill. “Who knows the correct answer?”

Another woman raised her hand. “The right answer is that it’s the pupil of the human eye, which expands to 12 times its normal size when exposed to darkness.”

“Of course!” exclaimed Churchill, and he turned back to the unfortunate first woman who answered incorrectly. “Young lady, I have three things to say to you. First, you didn’t do the homework. Second, you have a dirty mind. And third, you are doomed to a life of excessive expectations!”


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